Hawaii is the earth's most isolated landmass. Yet we import over 90 percent of our food! The ongoing status quo is Hawaii has less than 10 days of food on hand. We import 25 percent of our bananas, 65 percent of our lemons, limes, and avocados, and 86 percent of our taro.
Crops other than sugar could keep Maui lush. A system of family farms would avoid the proliferation of urban sprawl, which is held out as the inevitable consequence of ending cane burning.
As plantation agriculture began to fade, people began speaking of "diversified agriculture." The sustainable vision of many small farms growing a variety of crops was logical. Fresh locally grown food would benefit our schools, hotels, restaurants, local consumers, and the family farmer. A local food production system would provide food security for Hawaii. Land reform could open opportunities for farmers to live and farm long-term stewarding a piece of land. There are methods to revitalize the soils of the cane fields, and there is an extensive irrigation system in place.
Governor Ben Cayetano had a different idea. He laid out red carpets to biotech corporations with tax incentives. Now Hawaii's taxpayers are subsidizing one of the most controversial industries on Earth. Out-of-state corporations are using our prime agriculture lands to grow controversial experimental biotech crops and seed corn, much of it GMO for export.