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Saturday, July 27, 2013

My First Day In Hawaii Supporting Local Agriculture

The view of some of the islands of Hawaii as I headed for Kauai today
I landed in Kauai today around 1pm local time.  Renee, my host took me to lunch and then we went straight to Hanapepe - a very agricultural town on the West Side of the island.  


Just after we crossed the bridge pictured above we came to a large rally of sign waving people lining both sides of the road for several hundred yards on both sides.  It is a tradition here to use such events as a way to gain political support.  These were the rank and file employees of the seed companies that run winter nursery operations here, and it was their idea to come out and declare their pride in the work that they do.  300-350 people spent nearly 3 hours in the 90F heat and wind, and they got a great deal of support from the passing residents.


A small part of the crowd lining the road.
I'm glad that this was my first interaction on this trip.  It clarified the fact that the potential ramifications of this misguided county-level attempt to suppress the biotech industry is not so much about international companies as it is about jobs for the local community.  These people are proud of what they are working on, and they care as much as anyone about living in a safe environment.

In my last post I emphasized the fact that these island nurseries play a significant role in the global food supply.  Today I came to appreciate how much this is also about the real people who do that significant work.