Molokai Mom on a Mission
Opinion by Mercy Ritte
Did you know that for over 20 years now, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai and Maui have been used for open-field testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Agricultural biotechnology corporations such as Monsanto, DOW, DuPont/Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF lease thousands of acres of land to produce experimental GMO crops that have never before existed in nature, and that require the use of over 70 toxic pesticides to make them grow.
Research to assess the environmental and health safety of these GMO crops is fairly limited, according to University of Hawaii Professor, Hector Valenzuela. Yet Fred Perlak, Monsanto’s Vice President of Research and Business Operations, continues to promote the claim that “biotech crops have been tested, shown to be safe, therefore they are not a safety concern.” However, we need to remember that Monsanto has falsified information before and was fined for it. For example in 2009, BBC News released that France’s highest court ruled that Monsanto had lied about the safety of its weed killer Roundup, falsely advertising its herbicide as “biodegradable” and leaves “the soil clean.” For more information on the court ruling, please visit news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8308903.stm.
Perlak also claims “the company tries to minimize soil erosion, promotes soil conservation and serves as good stewards of the land.” On Molokai, their solution to minimize soil erosion was to build a berm, or raised bank, across the landscape. Soil erosion in the Ho`olehua area became a problem when Monsanto decided to over-plow the earth, leaving acres of land bare, allowing valuable topsoil to be blown or washed away. This is a major environmental concern when you consider one inch of topsoil can take 500 years to form naturally. So in my opinion, building a berm is ineffective and does not qualify Monsanto as “soil conservationists.”
Secondly, how is spraying chemicals being good stewards of the land? These very toxic chemicals are seeping into our land and water, and being released into the air we breathe. If we consider the land, water and air the main resources that sustain life, how will polluting it “preserve the planet for tomorrow,” as Monsanto claims to strive for? What is even worse is that they are allowed to conduct their experimental testing near residential and school zones.
One last thought: Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” I fear this is happening today, a reality we need to come to face with. Agricultural biotechnology corporations reside on Molokai, not for the long-term benefit of the environment and people, but solely for the profit of the corporation.
GMO FREE RECIPE:
Free-form Artisan Bread (from “Bake Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day”)
Baking stone, 5-quart container with lid, metal broiler tray (to hold hot water for steam), parchment paper, plastic wrap, cooling rack, bread knife, pizza paddle, measuring cups and spoons, pastry brush
5 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups All-purpose Flour, Unbleached
1 ½ T Granulated Yeast
1 T Kosher Salt
¼ cup Vital Wheat Gluten
4 cups Lukewarm Water
Seed mixture (optional)
1. Measure dry ingredients and place in a 5-quart container. Whisk together.
2. Measure and add lukewarm water. Mix without kneading using a spoon.
3. Cover the dough with a lid (not airtight) and allow rising at room temperature for 2 hours. You may refrigerate the dough for use over the next 14 days or use right away.
4. When ready to use, dust dough with flour then pull up and cut off a 1-pound piece.
5. Form dough into a ball, and then gently stretch the ball to elongate it.
6. Prepare pizza peel by lining it with a piece of parchment paper.
7. Place formed dough on prepared pizza peel, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rest for 90 minutes (40 minutes if using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
8. Thirty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450 degrees, with a baking stone on the middle rack. Place an empty metal broiler tray beneath.
9. Just before baking use a pastry brush to paint the top of loaf with water, sprinkle seed mixture and slash the loaf with ¼ inch deep parallel cuts across the top.
10. After preheating the oven, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the preheated baking stone.
11. Pour 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the broiler tray and close the oven to trap the steam.
12. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is richly browned and firm to the touch.
For a free sample of freshly baked Artisan bread, please come by Kualapu`u Market on Friday, July 13 at 5 p.m.