News / Events
Start2Farm.org - new program from USDAFebruary 23, 2012 - January 31, 2014
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LegislativeFormed in 1993, HOFA has recently revitalized a new board of directors. Our mission is to: “Further organic and sustainable agriculture, land care, and lifestyles in Hawaii, thus giving meaning and life to our state motto: Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono “The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness.”
HOFA President, Mark Fergusson and the HOFA Advocacy and Legislative Committee were very active at the legislature this past session. Written and in-person testimony was submitted on a number of bills with impacts on the organic industry.
While HOFA IS about organic - supporting the growing and consumption of organic foods in Hawaii and promoting sustainability - GMO and its role in Hawaii has become a big issue, as has labeling of GMO foods.
The GMO issue has lead to increased interest in and consumption of organic foods. Consumers are becoming educated about GMOs and the need to farm and consume organic foods.
HOFA submitted testimony to support the passage of HB97 requiring a permit from the Department of Agriculture to import, introduce, or develop a new species of genetically engineered organism and the holding of public hearings prior to the granting of a permit. Unfortunately, the bill did not progress.
GMO companies are free to grow experimental GMO crops in Hawaii with little or no oversight, and without public knowledge.
Public hearings and a review by the Department of Agriculture are needed to provide necessary oversight in the growing of GMO food crops.
HOFA strongly advocates that the growing of “Organic” foods is best for Hawaii, its land, the environment, and for the people, as it excludes the use of genetic engineering, irradiation, the use of toxic sludge, and the use of harmful chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. We believe that farming in this way helps to provide food security for the people of Hawaii.
HOFA President, Mark Fergusson, also testified on behalf of HOFA in support of HB174 HD2, which imposed labeling requirements and import restrictions on imported genetically engineered produce. While going further than any labeling bill in Hawaii thus far, it unfortunately did not pass the Senate vote.
HOFA believes that all foods containing GMOs should be labeled.
Without labeling consumers are unable to identify GM foods and don’t know if they are consuming them or not.
Consumers have the right to know whether the foods they eat are produced using GM techniques. The overwhelming majority of consumers (as much as 90% in major media surveys) want to know whether the foods they consume are GM or not.
HOFA strongly supported the passage of HB 479, repealing tax incentives received by businesses involved with GMO products within state enterprise zones. Hawaii should not be providing incentives to the GMO industry to do business in Hawaii.
HOFA also supported the passage of HB 673 HD1. The information collected and reported under this bill would lead to an increased understanding of the use of pesticides in Hawaii.
HOFA supports the right of organic farmers to obtain information about pesticides being sprayed on abutting properties.