1. Not everyone understands what the term modern agriculture means.
It takes all types and forms of farming to feed and sustain us; we may not always agree yet there is always common ground. Modern agriculture embraces and encompasses many forms and methods; it’s not a foul word nor have I ever stated anywhere that coffee or organic farmers were not practitioners of modern farming methods.
Modern agriculture, as defined by Wikipedia, may refer to the following agriculture practices or methods;
When did the term modern agriculture become offensive and why?
2. We should Support all farmers and food equality!
Farming is hard enough without being attacked for your choice of farming methods. I choose to appreciate all farmers; conventional, biotech aka GMO, organic, dairy, livestock producers….All of our farmers deserve support and respect not hate based on crop or methods. I certainly have no desire to grow food but if you do that’s awesome; yet 65% of us still shop in grocery stores and those stores are supplied by farmers from near and far. The fact is Hawaii is not self-sufficient, that’s the wrong goal and question; we should be focusing on where we can move the needle and supply more of our fresh agriculture goods.
3. Romantic notions of gardening and farming, need to be grounded in reality.
A desire to grow your food is noble, and I applaud anyone who tries. Let’s not mistake romantic notions about food and farming with the reality that’s ground in the red dirt and cinders we farm in across Hawaii. Gardening and farming is two totally different things. It harms all of agriculture when the community passes judgement on farmers and assumes a commercial farmer is bad because of his farm size or choice of crop. Same as portraying an organic farmer as nobler than his conventional counterpart is wrong, they’re all farmers. Crop choices and farming methods do not change that their profession is farming. All farmers use pesticides and crop protection!!!!! I say again all farmers use forms of crop protection methods and pesticides. Same as everyone reading this has pesticides in their house; that is a post for another day.
Gardeners are great and awesome. We cannot and will not feed Hawaii by protesting or disparaging any farmer! No one succeeds by tearing down someone else’s farm, besides its just wrong and shows a distinct lack of aloha spirit. I am tired of seeing the lack of aloha in food and farm conversations in Hawaii. I do not hear farmers attacking other farmers, I see subsistence gardeners and community members attacking farmers. Everyone has a choice in this conversation to be civil and speak with aloha.
Personally I think this song by Kacey Musgraves “Biscuits” sums it all up rather nice!
4. We can disagree and still find common ground.
Healthy, skeptical conversation is good, we shouldn’t always agree but we don’t need to attack each other. If we use negative statements to make our point then we lost the debate. Deleting conversations does not entice anyone to begin a conversation and its rude. Online or in person, manners matter!
5. The conversations might be difficult; Take a deep breath and Reach across the plate, the table and the “Cloud”; have the conversation regardless.
Note: This post is not a negative condemnation about the Hawaii Tropical fruit growers group. It’s a reflection abut an experience I had that is short sighted and narrow minded. I will continue to have the conversations online and across the table until farmers are no longer vilified for their choice of crop or farming methods.