POSTED: 9 OCTOBER 2004 - 10:30am HST

"The Future of Food" a must see!

Still from future of food: Mexicans seem to prefer the taste of their non-GMO corn

by Linda Pascatore on 9 Octoner 2004

Last night we saw “The Future of Food”, a film about GMO’s, or genetically modified organisms. Sponsored by GMO Free Kauai, the film was shown at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

The movie was very impressive. We came away with a comprehensive understanding of the issue of genetically modified food, and the implications for our society and our future. This was not a propaganda film--it laid out the facts, backed by scientific research. However, it was presented in simple clear language that anyone could understand. This is a film that everyone on Kauai, and in America, should see.

I thought I already knew the basic facts about GMO’s. But this film was a real eye-opener. I learned how viruses and bacteria are the carriers for the GMO’s to infiltrate the cell, and how antibiotics are used as GMO markers. I learned how the patent laws have been changed to allow the big chemical companies like Monsanto to patent biological life forms.

Some of the most poignant moments of the movie were interviews with small farmers from across the US and Canada. They have been sued by Monsanto for stealing GMO’s because the wind blew genetically altered pollen from neighboring farms to cross pollinate and alter the non-GMO crops these farmers had planted.

Monsanto now sells not only the pesticide Roundup, but also crops that are genetically modified to be Roundup-Ready--resistant to the pesticide, so that only they will grow after the field is sprayed. There is also development of a Terminator Gene, which causes the seeds to self-destruct in one generation. This breaks the very premise of agriculture, in which farmers save seeds every year to plant next year’’s crop, and instead forces them to buy seeds from the big companies.

The implications of the loss of plant diversity over the last century and the ability to save seeds and grow our own food were also explained in detail. The movie contained beautiful footage of open markets in South America and Africa where there is amazing diversity and abundance of food variety and farmers are still directly feeding the people of their regions.

“The Future of Food” definitively made the case for at least requiring labeling of GMO crops. This type of legislation has been successfully passed in other counties in the US. Several Kauai County Council Candidates showed up at the film showing, and expressed their support for labeling GMO’s here on Kauai. If you support such labeling, you might want to consider voting for Bruce Pleas, J Kauilani Kahalekai, Rupert Rowe and Bruce Miyashiro.

The movie has inspired me to try to avoid buying any more produce at the grocery store. Papya’s Nathural Food in Kapaa sells a variety of organic and non-GMO foods. However, I live on the west side, and don’t get to Kapaa very often to shop there. In the past I have used the local Sunshine Markets (farmer’s market’s on Kauai), but have often missed a week and shopped at Big Save. Now I will look into buying from an organic farm (look for future article with details), otherwise regularly and exclusively from the Sunshine Markets. Although the Sunshine Markets do not promise organic produce, at least it is grown locally by small farmers.

Sunshine Market Schedule:


Koloa -12 PM at Knudsen Ball Park on Maluhia Road
Lihue--3 PM at Kukui Grove Pavillion


Kalaheo--2:00 PM at the Kaleheo Neighborhood Center,
at Papalina and Kaumualii Highway

Hanale - 2:00 PM Hawaiian Farmer’s market at Waipa


Kapaa - 2:45 PM at Kapaa New Town Park, on Kahau and Olohena


Kilahuea - 4:30 PM at Kilauea Neighborhood Center on Kaneke,
off Lighthouse Road

Hanapepe - 3:30 PM at Hanapepe Town Park,
behind the Fire Station


Lihue - 2:45 PM at Vidnha Stadium Parkng Lot on Hoolako,
off Queen Kapule Road


Kekaha - 9:00 AM at Kekaha Neighborhood Center,
off Kaumaulii Highway on the West Shore

Kilauea - 9:00 AM at Christ Memorial Church

Kiluaea - 11:00 AM next to new Kilauea Post Office
by Kong Lung’s Plaza


Papaya genetically engineered to resist papaya ringspot virus (PRSV)

Critics Say Engineered Papayas Are a Threat

By Diana Leone published by the Honolulu Star Bulletin 9 September 2004

Cross-pollination has been occurring, according to tests. Pollen from genetically engineered papayas has contaminated at least some ordinary papaya plants in Hawaii, say advocates for controls on genetically modified organisms.

Evidence of such "genetic drift" with papaya was recently confirmed with testing of Hawaii papaya samples at a mainland lab, representatives of Hawaii Genetic Engineering Action Network and GMO-Free Hawaii said Thursday.

Proponents of the genetically engineered Rainbow and SunUp papayas agreed that pollen can spread to nonengineered trees, but said they would need to know more about testing methodologies before agreeing there is a problem.

At a press conference at the University of Hawaii-Hilo campus, farmers dumped several dozen papayas into a trash can labeled with a biohazard symbol, said Melanie Bondera, an organic farmer and member of Hawaii Genetic Engineering Action Network.

The groups hope their efforts will spur UH, which helped develop the genetically engineered papaya, to "help protect local agriculture by taking responsibility for cleaning up GMO papaya contamination," Bondera said.

The Rainbow and SunUp papaya varieties were engineered to resist the ringspot virus, which struck the Big Island's papaya crop hard in the 1990s and threatened to wipe it out, said Dennis Gonsalves, one of the varieties' co-creators and now director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.

Some growers in the Puna area of the Big Island raise Rainbow engineered papayas within 20 meters of nonengineered papayas -- and still are able to sell the latter to Japan, which will not buy genetically altered foods, Gonsalves said.

About 90 percent of the state's papayas are grown in Puna, according to state department of Agriculture statistics. Statewide, 44 percent of papayas are the genetically altered Rainbow, while 42 percent are Kapoho and 10 percent are Sunrise, both nonengineered varieties.

Several other varieties account for 4 percent of the crop. The state produced 42.6 million pounds of papayas in 2003, valued at $13 million. Hawaii is the only significant U.S. producer of papaya.

Seeds for the engineered papayas were made widely available in 1998. "If you really want to raise papaya that's not contaminated, you can, and it's not that difficult," Gonsalves said. Growers simply put paper bags over flowers on non-genetically modified trees during pollination, to ensure they self-pollinate, he said. However, if people are against
genetically modifying organisms philosophically, Gonsalves said, "then no use arguing."

The conflict is more than philosophical, said Mark Query, an arborist who founded GMO-Free Kauai. The idea that farmers who do not want genetic alterations to their crops have to take preventive action to protect their crops is "backwards," he said.

"It should be the other way around. For example, if corn farmers live next to each other and one decides to have cattle, whose responsibility is it to put up the fence to keep the cattle out of the corn? The cattle farmer," Query said.

Organic farmers should not have to pay to test their produce to prove that it is not altered, Bondera said.

According to sample testing conducted by Genetic ID Inc., Kauai, Oahu and Big Island papayas that were not genetically engineered showed varying amounts of contamination, meaning that genes from genetically altered plants were found in them.The samples were provided and testing paid for by the coalition groups.


For more about this issue visit... (to label gmos)



POSTED: 27 SEPTEMBER 2004 - 6:00pm HST

A film about genetically engineered food

Photo of Percy Schmeiser by Lily Films from "The Future of Food"

The film "The Future of Food" to be seen here

The film is about Genetically Modified Organisms(GMO's). It will be shown at Kaleheo Neighborhood Center on Friday, October 8th at 7:00 pm.

For details on purchase of VHS video or DVD  check link here at


"The Future of Food" film launch

26 August 2004 by

There's a revolution going on in the farm fields and on the dinner tables of America -- a revolution that's being fought behind closed doors of corporate boardrooms and government agencies over the use of genetically modified organisms in our food.

THE FUTURE OF FOOD offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled GMO products that have quietly filled grocery store shelves over the past decade.
From the test tube, to the farm field, to the supermarket, the film follows the personal stories of the farmers in the U.S., Canada who have been sued by large multi-national corporations for continuing the time-honored tradition of saving seeds; of the scientists in the U.S. and Europe who have been censored for raising serious public and environmental health concerns; and finally, of the consumers, who are beginning to question why this has escaped the attention of both the media and the Federal agencies in charge of keeping our food safe.

THE FUTURE OF FOOD unravels the complex web of market and political forces that are changing the nature of what we eat. Food has gone from being a basic need to part of a larger billion dollar battle to control the world's food production.

"If you eat food, you need to see The Future of Food..."

"This stylish film is not just for food faddists and nutritionists.
It is a look at something we might not want to see: Monsanto, Roundup and Roundup-resistant seeds, collectively wreaking havoc on American farmers and our agricultural neighbors around the world. In the end, this documentary is a eloquent call to action."

--- The Telluride Daily Planet

GMO-Food Foes Turn to Film
by Jason Silverman Wired News, Jul. 08, 2004

Last March, the food-safety organization GMO Free Mendocino did something no group had ever done: It ushered through a law banning genetically engineered crops and livestock.

It was a David-thrashes-Goliath victory. Opponents of the legislation, led by the agricultural trade group CropLife America, outspent the anti-GMO activists by a nearly 10-1 ratio. But GMO Free Mendocino had a secret weapon: a film, then a work in progress, called The Future of Food.

The new documentary, created by Deborah Koons Garcia, uses archival footage and interviews with farmers and agriculture experts to argue that GMO foods are jeopardizing our food safety. During the past 10 years, the film tells us, genetically engineered crops have infected our food supply and undermined cultivation methods that have been refined over thousands of years.

The Future of Food lays out a detailed case against genetically engineered crops. Exploring a gamut of issues from so-called suicide seeds to lax food-safety enforcement laws, and from the controversy over patented genes to infected cornfields, the film is a comprehensive and chilling example of anti-GMO rhetoric.

GMO Free Mendocino spokesman Doug Mosel described The Future of Food as a major factor in the passage of Measure H, which banned the use of GMO farming within Mendocino County, California.

"The Future of Food could be the Fahrenheit 9/11 of the genetically engineered food battle," Mosel said. The film is currently touring festivals and other events, including an upcoming screening in San Francisco.

Garcia, Jerry Garcia's third and final wife, has been interested in the ways plants can be mutated since childhood. At 15, she won a science fair award for an experiment involving irradiated plants, and she has followed the evolution of genetic engineering for years.

"My goal was to make a film that gave the average person a clear understanding of how genetic engineering works, from the cellular level to the global level," Garcia said. "I'm hoping this film can be a combination of Silent Spring and The Battle of Algiers. Once you see it you'll feel compelled to act, even if that means just changing the kind of food you eat."

Though The Future of Food is not intended as a two-sides-to-the-story analysis, Garcia said she requested interviews from representatives at Monsanto, the multinational seed and pesticide giant that is driving the genetically engineered food movement. She did not receive a response.

Perhaps Monsanto is trying to keep a low profile. The company has suffered a string of well-publicized setbacks to its genetically engineered crop initiatives in recent years, including closure of its GMO wheat project in May.

According to agriculture expert Chuck Benbrook, Monsanto and other biotech agriculture companies are "retrenching -- reducing their research, reducing projections for profits, watching the range of viable applications shrinking."

Benbrook served in the Carter and Reagan administrations before becoming executive director of the Board on Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences. In his various positions, he watched as biotech companies rushed products to market. The first GMO foods reached shelves in 1997.

Though scientists were initially supportive to the point of being myopic -- Benbrook described early reports from the National Academy as "unadulterated boosterism" -- biotech foods today look less promising than they did even a few years ago. According to Benbrook, genetic engineering has failed to solve the problems advocates hoped it would. And, he added, food-safety concerns remain unresolved.

"The biotech industry is beginning to recognize that there are lots of reasons why it's hard to move genes across boundaries," Benbrook said.

"Scientists have found ways around the natural protections, but there are really good reasons for them being there, and we violate them at some cost." For five-sixths of the problems that genetic engineering promises to address, Benbrook added, genetic solutions are not necessary.

GMO companies are also finding increased resistance on the legal front. In April, Vermont became the first state to require registration and labeling of genetically modified products. According to one anti-GMO site, nearly 100 towns in New England have approved some sort of anti-GMO legislation.

Since the Mendocino law was signed, Garcia said as many as a dozen other California municipalities have drawn up similar legislation. "The Future of Food has already helped change policy," Garcia said. "I think it is possible to make California GE-free, and it's exciting to think that the film could have some role in that."