HALEIWA, Hawaii —The march against genetically modified foods in Hawaii drew hundreds and shut down one lane of a highway on Saturday.
Protesters who gathered together came armed with signs, some with messages that said, ‘stop planting seeds of destruction.’ They are fighting for a future of Hawaii without GMO testing and farming.
Protesters took over a lane on Kamehameha highway slowing down traffic through Haleiwa. One of the key points they wanted heard: genetically modified foods need to be labeled.
But, The main target is Monsanto, a lead producer of genetically modified seeds that has planted roots in Hawaii.
“Instead of being left in the dark and deceived about this they will know that their food has been genetically modified,” said protester Courtney Bruch.
“It’s solely control of the food supply, and all the seeds in the world are now being co-opted by these chemical companies,” said protester Melissa Yee.
But, Alicia Maluafiti with the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association said genetically modified foods are healthy and nutritional.
“They’ve come up with a way to cross breed different types of plants, plants only, so they can be the natural resistance to bugs and worms and other things that they have to spray pesticides on to kill,” said Maluafiti.
Maluafiti also said protesting to shut down Monsanto means more than getting rid of GMOs in Hawaii, it also means losing local jobs.
“We employ 2,000 people, and we’re looking at a federal impact locally of $138 million. That’s going to be devastating to the people here,” said Maluafiti.
However, protesters said in the end it’s about the quality of the food we eat.
“The nutritional value is not there, the pesticide use does not help the land or the food itself,” said protester James Macey.
Protesters said this is just the beginning. There will be many more marches against genetically modified foods and Monsanto throughout this month. Some will take place on other islands.