Kauai woman joins Swiss protest

LIHUE — Kauai’s Fern Rosenstiel traveled more than 14,000 miles this weekend to deliver a message to the Swiss people.

Rosenstiel attended the Swiss March Against Syngenta, which is held on the same day as the International March Against Monsanto. There she delivered a speech on behalf of activists on Kauai.

“I come here from the most isolated island chain in the world, from the tiny island of Kauai, in the middle of the Pacific … with a message of solidarity and a resolution to stand with you steadfast against the corporate greed destroying our world,” she said during the opening of her speech at the Saturday March Against Syngenta.

March Against Monsanto is an international event held annually where activists march and wave signs in an effort to end the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms in food production.

“This is the third year that the Swiss people march against Syngenta because of the many cases, including ours, worldwide where Syngenta has impacted communities and environments,” Rosenstiel said.

In her speech, Rosenstiel touched on Kauai’s history with agribusiness corporations like Monsanto, Syngenta, DOW Chemical Corporation and DuPont Pioneer. She also spoke about Bill 2491 — Kauai’s attempt to regulate the use of restricted use pesticides on the island.

She also walked in the hope of generating feelings of solidarity.

“It was wonderful to march alongside them and to bring our gratitude for the support we have received here and my message to the head office of Syngenta,” Rosenstiel said.

Syngenta recently sold its Hawaii operations to Iowa-based Hartung Brothers, Inc.

Members of the agribusiness industry on Kauai and in Hawaii maintain they follow the state’s Department of Agriculture Good Neighbor Program, which advocates for things like disclosure before spraying certain pesticides, according to Bennette Misalucha, executive director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.

“Hawaii’s seed industry has been responsible stewards of Hawaii’s natural resources for 50 years. Their employees are farmers, neighbors, and parents who care about the well-being of their communities and the future of Hawaii,” she previously told TGI.

Rosenstiel and other activists around the state don’t agree.

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