Resisting Monsanto’s Occupation of Hawaii

Aina: That Which Feeds Us

Living Ancestors (2015)

Film Review

Aina is a short documentary about the Waipa Foundation, an organization run by native Hawaiians to restore traditional farming practices to Kauai (Hawaii). The group’s primary focus is to encourage a return to traditional organic farming practices. At the moment their main goal is the taro plant, a traditional staple, by giving the poi (the underground corm of the taro plant) away free to community members. They’re also working to reduce obesity by encouraging a return to the traditional diet (fish, pork, greens and poi).

Prior to seeing the film, I had no idea the extent to which the Hawaiian islands have been “occupied” by Monsanto and other multinational corporations engaged in GMO research. One of the group’s biggest concerns is the massive amount of Roundup, a known carcinogen and neurotoxin, sprayed adjacent to schools. In one highly publicized incident, 50 children had to be hospitalized following exposure to Roundup.

The Waipa Foundation is intent on returning Kauai (Hawaii) to 100% sustainability in food and energy production. With a present population of 1.2 million, the state imports 90% of its food and energy. One hundred years ago, one million Hawaiians lived in abundance without importing anything.


15 thoughts on “Resisting Monsanto’s Occupation of Hawaii

  1. Several months back, Jon Rappoport posted several articles on this. I wasn’t paying much attention at the time, so I never reblogged them.

    I’m attaching this to another post I’ll publish on Monsanto in the next few days.


  2. I love this film – looks like we’re on the same wavelength! I was relieved to hear about this foundation and the work their doing to protect the island…I only hope its soon enough…
    I have a dear friend living on Kauai on the side of the island where Monsanto and other GMO corporations are doing their heavy pesticide crop testing….they spray the fields at night to be less conspicuous and once when visiting my friend, we could see the lights in the distance and hear the machines doing their dirty work…


    • Glad you liked the film, HG. I am just finishing a book on chemical toxins (like Roundup). While many remain in the environment for years and decades, it seems the sooner you end their release to the environment, the sooner levels drop in food and our bloodstreams.

      I guess what I’m saying, in other words, is that it’s never too late.


  3. Pingback: “Monsanto is Suing California for Telling People the Truth About Its Chemicals” – An Outsider's Sojourn II

  4. When the seed industry first arrived to Hawai’i in the 1960s, it was made up of dozens of small companies operating on the fringes of plantation lands. Beginning in the 1990s, these smaller companies were acquired by chemical corporations and began expanding onto lands recently vacated by sugar while morphing their operations to reflect the novel directions of the emerging chemical+seed oligopoly — most notably, growing seeds engineered to be resistant to their herbicides and testing new genetically engineered crops .


  5. OK. I’ve watched AINA three times now and want to compliment you on the films excellent aerial shots and macro shots. Truly top rate and makes me want to hire you for my next tourism video.

    Your story telling skills however needs some serious work. AINA comes across as a propaganda film. I’ve lived on and off in Kauai for over 5 years so I’m acquainted with the isle quite well; particularly the west side (I have a place in Waimea).

    The problem is you fail to balance your argument about pesticides or Monsanto/Dupont with interviews from the opposing viewpoint.

    A brief clip of 1940s DDT spraying and a story from 2006 with some Waimea kids (close up on their “sad eyes”) and no follow thru. You appear manipulative with deliberate glossing over of the facts.
    And what is your point exactly. That pesticides are “bad”? If so where are your stats about that? Pesticides have been a compelling factor in increasing agricultural productivity – not cancer. In fact Agro firms consistently argue that they want to feed the world. Again – you did not follow through on proving your point. Facts; not slow motion close ups make the case.

    And about the “4 major” Agro firms on Kauai – you failed to explain how exactly they got the rights to operate on Kauai. Did they buy the land? Did they lease it from the Sinclair or Robinson family (who own 80% of the island). Why didn’t you go after that angle? If the gov’t leased it to the agro-firm then take the vote to the people. It should be an easy evict if you put that on the ballot; or better yet tackle the issue of the selfishness of the Sinclairs and Robinsons.

    And if you truly “care” about Kauai – why on earth did you not mention that the US military is basically using Polihale (in the cliffs) as a storage facility for explosives. They have enough bombs tucked away to sink the island.

    Unfortunately this is the fatal flaw of AINA; it is a one sided viewpoint and that makes you two, Dave and Josh no different that the industrialists trying to pull a fast one over the public. Your intentions may be good but you fail to be fair.

    And one final comment which is a bit philosophical.

    AINA talks about Hawaiian “ancestors” and the importance of protecting that heritage. And you contrast that starkly with Agro industrialists killing the traditional “organic” heritage of true Kauai/ Hawaiʻi. Did you consider the irony that the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaiʻi in the 4th century from the Marquesas, and were followed by Tahitians in AD 1300, who then conquered the original inhabitants. We’re talking genocide (ie. Where are the Menhune?). All your nostalgia about preserving ancestral ways neglects to mention that murderous bloody Hawaiian heritage. And now your narrative is about gentle earth loving Hawaiian’s “battle” with the evil Agro firms. Perhaps you reap what you sow; it just takes a while. Now that would be a profound message.


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