Local food and sustainable agriculture enthusiasts are preparing for a highly anticipated visit from the internationally acclaimed activist and sustainable farming advocate Dr. Vandana Shiva. From January 15-17, Dr. Shiva will speak to legislators, students, Agricultural specialists and community members on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i about food justice and sustainable agriculture—issues that are gathering momentum as Hawai‘i attempts to address the question of its growing food insecurity.
The theme of Dr. Shiva’s presentation—“Seed Freedom is Food Freedom”—refers to the importance of preserving biological diversity and intellectual democracy in agricultural policy. Her work has been informed by the experience of traditional farmers in India who have lost their livelihoods due to industrial agriculture and biotechnology.
“Dr. Shiva is coming to Hawai‘i because our islands are currently the world’s most significant center of biotechnology seed experiments,” says Jeri DiPietro, president of Hawai‘i SEED and one of the tour’s organizers. “A significant portion of our state’s agricultural lands are currently used by seed companies to produce an inedible product that is shipped off island, rather than contributing to a local farming economy.”
Di Pietro adds that Dr. Shiva will visit Kaua‘i because it is the island with the largest acreage of genetically engineered agriculture in the state (approximately 13,000 acres). “Dr. Shiva will speak with the island’s West Side residents, many of whom are impacted by chemicals and agricultural dust drift. Currently there is not enough oversight and very little understanding about field experiments and the chemical pesticides and herbicides being used. People living close to the fields are suffering chronic exposure and poor health; many children on the West Side have asthma and many adults are experiencing adult onset asthma. We are also seeing a very high and unexplained rate of cancer in the areas near fields used for seed testing.”
Dr. Shiva and special guest Andrew Kimbrell will be speaking in Honolulu at the Hawai‘i State Capitol, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and in Kapolei, and in Līhue on Kaua‘i. “We hope that Dr. Shiva’s expertise in sustainable farming can help to transition our islands into cleaner, more productive local land use,” says Di Pietro. Dr. Shiva’s visit is organized by the local nonprofit Hawai‘i SEED, in collaboration with the Center for Food Safety and The Ceres Trust.
About the Speakers:
Dr. Vandana Shiva is an Indian philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco-feminist who is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices and fought for changes in the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, genetic engineering are among the fields where Shiva has contributed intellectually and through activist campaigns. She has assisted grassroots organizations of the Green movement in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland, and Austria with campaigns against genetic engineering. Dr. Shiva was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) in 1993. Other awards she has received include the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1993, and the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations (UN) for her commitment to the preservation of the planet. She has been featured in a number of acclaimed documentaries on agriculture and food such as “One Water,” “Deconstructing Supper: Is Your Food Safe?,” “The Corporation,” “Thrive,” “Dirt! The Movie” among others.
Dr. Shiva will be accompanied by Andrew Kimbrell, the executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and also executive director of the Center for Food Safety. He is one of the country’s leading environmental attorneys, and an author of numerous articles and books on environment, technology and society, and food issues. Mr. Kimbrell’s current work emphasizes policy and grassroots work on food issues including including defending organic alfalfa and beet farmers from seed contamination and opposing destructive practices such as genetic engineering, factory farming, irradiation and the patenting of seeds and other life forms. He has been featured in many documentaries including the seminal film “The Future of Food” and has testified before numerous congressional and regulatory hearings. In 1994, the Utne Reader named Kimbrell as one of the world’s leading 100 visionaries.
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Schedule of Events:
**Pre-registered seating is SOLD OUT but there will be a live feed in a nearby overflow room, with space available on a FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVE basis.
Olelo live broadcast and simultaneous webcast of the event will be on Digital Channel Focus 49, from 6:00-9:00 pm.
Viewers need a digital cable box to be able to access the channel. Oceanic Time Warner is required to provide a digital box free of charge to existing cable subscribers. Call Oceanic customer service and tell them you need to be able to see the digital Olelo channels.
The webstream* can be accessed worldwide at www.olelo.org and click on the channel 49 button on the left side of the homepage
*You need to have sliverlight running on your computer for the media player to work. It is a free download.
8:30-9:30 Heleku March from UH to Capitol
9:30 “We the People” Rally State Capitol Rotunda
7:00 Presentation at Salvation Army Ray Kroc Center, Kapolei (register now; only a few seats left!)
Kauai Memorial Convention Hall, Lihue
5:00 Seed Exchange
For more information: