Pre-registration for the 600-person University of Hawai‘i Campus Center Ballroom has already sold out for Dr. Vandana Shiva’s speaking engagement on January 15—the first of three public presentations scheduled next week on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i.
The highly anticipated arrival of Dr. Shiva has created a stir among local food and sustainable agriculture enthusiasts at the outset of a political year that promises to put these issues high on the legislative agenda. From January 15-17, Dr. Shiva will speak to policymakers, students, agricultural experts and community members on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i about food justice and sustainable agriculture—issues that are gathering momentum as Hawai‘i attempts to address the problem of its growing food insecurity.
Last October, the state Office of Planning, Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism released a report calling for “Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency” that outlines objectives aimed at increasing the amount of locally grown food consumed by Hawai‘i residents. The report estimates that replacing just 10% of the food that Hawai‘i currently imports would amount to approximately $313 million dollars that would remain in the state economy.
The theme of Dr. Shiva’s visit—“Seed Freedom is Food Freedom”—refers to the importance of preserving biodiversity and bioethics in agricultural policy. Proponents of GMO-labeling legislation are hoping that her presence will galvanize the ongoing public debate about the controversial biotechnology industry, for which Hawai‘i is the world’s most important centers of seed crop experimentation.
“Dr. Shiva is like the Dalai Lama of Agriculture,” says Hawaiian cultural and environmental activist Walter Ritte. “The fact that she is coming to Hawai‘i says a lot about the state of affairs here. We need to start asking ourselves why we’re using our limited agricultural resources to produce a seed crop that’s not even fit for human consumption, when people are clearly asking for more locally-grown food to replace our dependence on imports.”
Dr. Shiva and special guest Andrew Kimbrell will be speaking in Honolulu at the Hawai‘i State Capitol, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and in Kapolei, and in Līhue on Kaua‘i. “We are extremely honored that Dr. Shiva’s has agreed to share her global experience on how to transition from unsustainable industrial farming methods to cleaner, healthier food systems for Hawai‘i,” says Jeri Di Pietro, president of the nonprofit Hawai‘i SEED, which is organizing Dr. Shiva’s visit in collaboration with the Center for Food Safety and The Ceres Trust.
Schedule of Events*:
Tues, Jan. 15:
5:00pm Dinner, UH Manoa Campus Center Ballroom
6:00pm Presentation (SOLD OUT; extra room available in a nearby room with live feed and also broadcast on Olelo)
Wed, Jan. 16
8:30-9:30am Heleku March from University of Hawai‘i to Capitol
9:30am “We the People” Rally State Capitol Rotunda
7:00pm Presentation Salvation Army Ray Kroc Center, Kapolei
Thurs, Jan. 17
5:00pm Seed Giveaway, Kauai Memorial Convention Hall, Lihue
*all events are free and open to the public
About the Speakers:
Dr. Vandana Shiva is an Indian philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco-feminist who is one of the leaders of the International Forum on Globalization. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices and fought for changes in the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics and genetic engineering are among the fields where Shiva has contributed intellectually and through activist campaigns. She has assisted grassroots organizations of the Green movement in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with campaigns against genetic engineering. Dr. Shiva was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) in 1993, as well as the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations (UN). She has been featured in a number of acclaimed documentaries such as “One Water,” “Deconstructing Supper: Is Your Food Safe?,” “The Corporation,” “Thrive” and “Dirt! The Movie.”
Dr. Shiva will be accompanied by Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and also executive director of the Center for Food Safety. He is one of the country’s leading environmental attorneys, and an author of numerous articles and books on environment, technology and society, and food issues. Mr. Kimbrell’s current work emphasizes policy and grassroots work on food issues including defending organic alfalfa and beet farmers from seed contamination and opposing destructive practices such as genetic engineering, factory farming, irradiation and the patenting of seeds and other life forms. He has been featured in many documentaries including the seminal film “The Future of Food” and has testified before numerous congressional and regulatory hearings. In 1994, the Utne Reader named Kimbrell as one of the world’s leading 100 visionaries.
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