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Hawaii Center Holds Public Seminar and Talk on Food Safety
Now that the Hawaii Center has moved to Waikiki (which we learned means "spouting water"), more people are able to easily access this location to participate in educational forums about crucial environmental and cultural issues. On January 24, 2010, the Hawaii Center held an educational seminar at its center at Eaton Square in Waikiki entitled "Food Security and Safety through Malama 'Aina—Starvation or Survival?" Malama 'Aina is a Hawaiian term for cherish, nurture, land, nature, and environment.
 
The seminar was held together in connection with an all-day activity with the youth of Sukyo Mahikari and a visit and training by the staff member responsible for the Sukyo Mahikari Youth Group, who came from North American Region Headquarters.

Guests and members first watched the documentary film Food Inc., which exposes the takeover of food production by agricultural and chemical corporations. Viewers sat transfixed
 
seeing the mistreatment of animals raised for food and the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers in the crop fields in the pursuit of greater profit and bigger yields, at the sacrifice of quality of food and food safety. The film's audience was encouraged to make their voices heard through their purchases of organic food and hormone-free milk and dairy products and telling their supermarkets and politicians what they prefer to eat, in support of local farmers and organic produce.
 
After the film, our center director and four speakers who are taro and organic farmers shared their expertise and viewpoints about today's food crisis, the current mindset and the need to nurture young people to become farmers, the dangers of eating GMO (genetically modified organism) food, the positive use of microbes to revitalize soil, Hawaiian water rights, and ways to support self-sustainability. Each of the farmers, in a humble and authentic manner, presented his
 
personal experiences of working with plants and people and of finding a connection to the earth.

Hawaii is in a very vulnerable position, like Haiti, as an island state. Hawaii imports 90 percent of its food from outside the islands. But Hawaii could turn the situation around to become agriculturally self-sufficient and independent as did Russia and Cuba.
 
Guests were inspired to become educated about genetically engineered foods and current food production methods, to grow their own gardens using kitchen scraps and earthworm composting, and to become socially and politically involved in order to educate family, friends, and politicians to change the way we eat and produce our food. Speakers and guests enjoyed wonderful organic dishes prepared by members and were able to view and take home a wide variety of herbal and vegetable seedlings to start their own one-pot gardens. The talk was filmed by the Hawaii community television channel 'Olelo to be shown when possible to increase awareness about local issues.
We would like to hold more public seminars now that we are in a location that is more convenient for the people of Honolulu to attend. Upcoming topics may include "Sacred Sites of Oahu," showing the films Fresh and Food Matters followed by discussions about practical solutions, Hawaiian healing practices, and "Is there a difference between non-GMO and organic food?"
Presentation Series at the Honolulu Unity Church
In addition, the Hawaii Sukyo Mahikari center has established a comfortable relationship with members of a local Unity Church, who look forward to our visit on their "Diversity Sunday," when guest presenters can introduce themselves and give a talk or performance. Members of our center have offered Light at this Unity Church one Sunday a month for more than three years.
Sukyo Mahikari has put on a series of presentations at the church about Hawaiian culture, food production, and emergency preparedness related to the universal principles promoted and practiced in Sukyo Mahikari. Past public presentations included "Spirituality on the Hokulea," a large Hawaiian canoe which has sailed the Pacific Ocean and to Okinawa, "The
"4 R's: reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair," "Tsunami Preparedness," "The Spirituality of Hawaiian Hula," a showing of The Inconvenient Truth about global warming and talk by a member who was trained by Al Gore, "How the Hummingbird Stopped Global Warming" about energy solutions for Hawaii, "GMO-Putting the Islands at Risk in Hawaii," and "What's the Fuss about GMOs?" Hawaii has four biotech companies on four different islands which are leasing former sugarcane and pineapple lands to experiment with genetically engineered seeds to be used for cattle feed, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and human food consumption. These seeds are being exported globally with unknown but potentially harmful risks to the environment and people of Hawaii by polluting the air, soil, water supply, and ocean quality.
On February 7, 2010, Dr. Paul Hepperly, a member of Sukyo Mahikari and former director of Rodale Institute Research programs, spoke in Honolulu to an audience concerned about the quality of their food. In his talk entitled "The Spirituality of Food," Dr. Hepperly said that agricultural chemicals commonly used in our present food system were originally developed for weapons and genocide in World War I and II, respectively. According to Dr. Hepperly, the negative karmic root of our centralized industrialized food systems is problematic and is at the root of many of people's poor health outcomes. Dr. Hepperly proposed a more locally sustained and natural food system based on biological rather than chemical inputs. Formerly director of research programs for several national genetics companies, Dr. Hepperly speaks about the theme that changing our hearts is a prerequisite to changing our food and health outcomes, and he described his personal transformation in parallel to one which is needed by society more generally. Currently, Dr. Hepperly is advising farmers, researchers, and policy-makers on the need for a new approach to food and health.


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