Archive for April, 2008

Blown Away

April 25, 2008


Here is an article entitled: Study Based on Farmers’ Experience Exposes Risks of GE Crops.

The article is a little technical, but has some good information.  The question which we should all be asking ourselves, as we face a worldwide food shortage and even food rationing in the U.S. is, are Genetically Engineered crops really the answer?

In my mind the issues around food, resource distribution, and world hunger have a lot to do with the massive shift to industrial agriculture and away from small local sustainable farming. 

Recently I had the very good fortune to give some talks on Genetic Engineering at the the University of Hawaii at Hilo.   What blew my mind though was the the students’ general lack of knowledge about agriculture, farming, or even gardening.  In one of the classes not a single student of the the 25 or so present had even grown vegetables in a garden!  I was completely stunned.  I had just assumed that most people had some minimal exposure to growing food.  That is obviously not the case.

The statistic on farming is that less than .01% of the US population is involved in agriculture.   The students at the University made this statistic very real for me.

Consequently I had to spend a tremendous amount of time during my talk explaining very basic things about farming – like how plants grow and pollinate, how they are planted and how they can be harvested.   I gave information on all of the things that go into growing food on large farms (Industrial Ag.) and small family farms.   I talked about organic agriculture and sustainability.

Let me say it again, I was stunned by what these students did not know about the growing of food!

It cannot be good for people to be this disconnected from the land and the source of the food upon which their lives depend.

Peace,  Paul


Around the Farm

April 23, 2008

We are into the full on growing season here in Hawaii.  The rain has moderated a bit and the days are longer and we are striving to stay ahead of the weeds and various vines that thrive in this weather.  Are farm is organic, low tech, and off the grid.  That means that we do most of the work by hand using sickles, shovels, and hoes.   (Though there is a 50 year old tractor for some of the heavier work.)  It is a good life filled with long days and hard work.

Here are some photos from around the farm, enjoy.

Our first crop of corn this year.   We just put in a second planting and are looking forward to having sweet corn for several months.

Our first planting of corn this year.

Lettuce growing in our “screen house.”  We get a lot of rain here in Hawaii and the lettuce just can’t stand up to the showers:

Lettuce growing in our \

Here is some young taro that has recently been weeded.  For those of you who do not know, Taro is the staple crop of Hawaii.  It is a very strong plant, a good producer, and easy to grow.  You can eat the whole plant and it is quite tasty.

Here is some taro that is about ready to be cut for leaf.  The corm (root) will not yet be ready for some time:

Some sweet potatoes that were weeded today.  This is another good staple crop.  Unfortunately the pigs really like sweet potatoes as well.  So I may be sleeping in the field with the dogs when harvest time rolls around.

Here are some beans that will be ready to pick in a few weeks. (They look weedy, but really it’s not that bad!)  This is one of the crops that we sell at market.  Taro is the other main cash crop.

Everyone should grow a little of their own food.

Peace, Paul

Clean Energy Scam

April 14, 2008

Here is an article from Time Magazine on what they call the biofuel scam, tough words coming from Time Magazine.  To quote the article:

“… several new studies show the biofuel boom is doing exactly the opposite of what its proponents intended: it’s dramatically accelerating global warming, imperiling the planet in the name of saving it.”

Clean Energy Scam

Read the article and let me know your thoughts.

Peace, Paul

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

April 11, 2008

Below is a link to an article on Monsanto from the May issue of Vanity Fair.  I have to admit that even I was shocked by some of the information revealed in the article.

Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear

Peace, Paul

Farm Day

April 2, 2008

While Judy was taking her Scuba course I remained on the Farm, for our monthly volunteer day.


There were 5 of us total, and I was the youngest by about 20 years.  (I am 42!)  Nevertheless, “many hands make light work”, and in a few short hours we had planted 8 rows of Taro and 3 rows of sweet potatoes.  (The same task, if done by myself alone,  would have taken several long days of hard slow work.)  I was very thankful for help with the work!  


After working in the fields, we shared a delightful pot-luck meal.  Fresh steamed taro, chickpeas, salad, and bread mixed with joyful stories and fond remembrances to bring a warm end to the day.


Peace, Paul