GMO Bananas and How to Avoid Them

GMO bananas coming soon!

Several GMO banana varieties are currently being developed around the world and have already been approved for experimental growing in field trials in the US (Hawaii), Israel, Australia, and Uganda. Commercial use of genetically modified bananas for food and vaccination purposes is expected in the near future. The Gates Foundation has invested a large interest in developing GMO bananas in Uganda known as the Banana21 program.

One GMO banana variety being developed and tested is the common Cavendish banana. The other GMO banana is the East African Highland banana locally known as Matooke – a staple food of Uganda. The highly controversial Vaccine Banana is also in development.

Most people in developed nations are used to seeing the familiar Cavendish bananas in grocery stores. They often come from Ecuador and other South American countries. These bananas are usually grown by Dole and Chiquita brands. Non-organic Cavendish bananas are known to lack taste. What’s worse is they may have been grown with highly toxic pesticides such as DBCP and irradiated.

Check out the Bananas* movie, which is banned in the U.S. and the Big Boys Gone Bananas* for more info. These documentaries expose how the non-organic bananas are grown with super toxic chemicals that cause infertility (DBCP) and the lawsuits that followed against Dole, Dow, and the filmmaker, as a result. Organically grown Cavendish bananas are sweet and much healthier for you and the planet.

Cavendish Bananas on the cover of Bananas* movie

Cavendish Bananas on the cover of Bananas* movie

GMO bananas to the rescue.. or?

A new strain of the Panama fungal disease (F. oxysporum) called Tropical Race 4 (TR4) is quickly spreading across the world and putting the South American banana monoculture industry at risk, where 80% of Cavendish bananas are grown. Hence, the GMO Cavendish banana is promoted as the solution by the biotech industry, as it’s supposed to be resistant to the fungal disease.

A GMO version of the Matooke banana, also known as the East African Highland banana is being promoted in Uganda by the Gates Foundation. The Matooke banana is a cooking banana, which is also a staple food in Uganda.  The GMO Matooke banana was developed in Australia and field tested in the U.S. and Uganda.

The supposed benefit of the GMO Matooke banana is a better nutritional profile of the essential pro-vitamin A and iron when compared to non-gmo bananas, but in Uganda not everyone is happy about it. The introduction of the GMO Matooke banana has sparked an anti-GMO row in Uganda. GMO banana opponents insist that health risks and environmental impacts are unknown. They warn that multinational corporations behind GMO foods take advantage of local governments and farmers.

How to avoid GMO bananas!

The World of Bananas in Hawaii: Then and Now (book)

The World of Bananas in Hawaii: Then and Now (book)

Solution #1

Since GMOs are not labeled in the U.S. the safest thing to do is to avoid them by buying certified organic Cavendish bananas. Certified organic bananas are certified to be non-gmo, have better taste, and are ecologically better for the environment and for those who grow them, since synthetic chemicals like the highly toxic DBCP may not be used.

Solution #2

Try other types of bananas, such as the excellent Apple Bananas, Saba, Ice cream, or the Cuban Red variety. Farmers markets, natural grocery stores such as Down to Earth, Wholefoods, and Kokua Market in Hawaii are usually a good place to find them. You can also grow your own organic bananas if you live in a tropical climate. Check out “The World of Bananas in Hawaii: Then and Now,” probably the best book on bananas out there.

Solution #3

Vitamin A is very important for health and there are healthy non-gmo organic alternatives out there that are readily available. The Hawaiian Lele banana is known to contain more vitamin A than any other variety of bananas known. If you live in a tropical climate plant some Lele bananas.

Also, you can get a non-gmo natural source of vitamin A from cooked organic sweet potatoes, cooked carrots, cooked kale, cooked butternut squash, and dried apricots. These foods are known to contain the highest amounts of vitamin A out there.

Non-gmo organic bananas are in the public domain, so that anyone can freely grow them and consume them while avoiding the risks of controversial GMO bananas.

Thai bananas grown in Hawaii

Thai bananas grown in Hawaii


Bananas at a farmers market

Bananas at a farmers market on Oahu, Hawaii

bananas at farmers market 2

Saba bananas grown in Hawaii

Saba bananas grown in Hawaii

Saba bananas

Saba bananas – sweet and rich 🙂

Hawaii Reports Fewest Honey Bee Deaths in the U.S.

Bumble bee pollinating an organic Hawaii Passion Fruit flower (Lilikoi) on a Maui organic farm

The latest national survey of U.S. beekeepers across all states concluded that on average there was a 42.1% loss of honeybees in their colonies in the U.S. The length of survey was one year and it was conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership from April 2014 to April 2015.

Hawaii beekeepers that participated in the survey reported the smallest loss of bees in the U.S. at 13.95%, while the largest loss reported was in Oklahoma with a 63% loss of honeybees.

Map showing Colony Collapse Disorder of honeybees by state

Click the map above or here to find out how your state ranked in honey bee loss

On January 6, 2016 the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) announced that a certain type of neonicotinoid chemical called Imidacloprid can be harmful to honeybees. This toxic chemical was originally produced by Bayer CropScience under trade name Gaucho and is one of the most popular insecticides in the world.

Researchers believe that these agricultural chemicals lead to the death of bees know scientifically as the Colony Collapse disorder. There has been a big social awareness push to ban these bee killing chemicals in agriculture, backyard, lawn and garden stores especially Lowe’s and Home Depot, since they are the biggest national retail chains.

Honeybee wearing a gas mask to protect from toxic chemicals, insecticides

To date, Colony Collapse Disorder has killed tens of millions of honeybees and it’s threatening the existence of most of the food that we eat, which relies on the bees and other beneficial insects to pollinate.

Monarch butterflies is another beneficial and beautiful insect that’s been disappearing as a result of toxic insecticides. GMO seed giant Monsanto, the maker of the infamous RoundUp insecticide and genetically engineered Bt Corn, pledged to donate $4 million in 2015 to help save the Monarch butterflies after being blamed for killing them with toxic farming practices.

Honey bee pollinating Noni (Morinda Citrifolia) in Honolulu, Hawaii organic garden

The best solution that humanity can offer to prevent honeybee loss and save the honeybees, Monarch butterflies, and other beneficial insects is to adopt an organic lifestyle, which prohibits the use of synthetic insecticides in farming, toxic chemicals around the house, garden, and elsewhere.

ALOHA AINA Unity March Waikiki Hawaii | PHOTOS | 2015

Aloha Aina Unity March took place in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii on August 9, 2015. It was a Sunday morning event, with lots of people and groups gathering on Saratoga Avenue. The march started at about 10:30am and went through the entire Waikiki strip. Around 10,000 participated. Crowd turn out was so large that even though Kalakaua Avenue is nearly straight it was impossible to see the beginning or the end of the Aloha Aina Unity March.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0481

It was also interesting to witness an event of this social magnitude and size against the backdrop of the worlds top luxury brands’ flagship retail stores such as Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, etc. situated on the world’s third most expensive real estate leases – on Kalakaua Avenue ($300/sf/mo).

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0456

Some of the main reasons for the 2015 Aloha Aina Unity March event were: protecting Mauna Kea (the most sacred place in Hawaii and Polynesia) from the largest telescope in the world, social and civil justice (policy brutality sweeping the U.S., U.S. federal government overturning local laws), sustainability, protection against GMO pollution and pesticide drift, as well as upholding local laws against GMOs, TMT development, sovereignty, environmental preservation, and against over-militarization in Hawaii, Japan, and elsewhere.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0318

Lots of people brought their families including little kids, newborns, and the elderly. Kids were helping out and passing out information flyers about the event. Many children made their own signs in the form of original artwork and writing. They marched alongside their parents many in the front lines of the parade sections, while others were inside the group with their families. Most kids walked while others were carried by their parents, were in a stroller or a cart.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0405

The whole of Waikiki strip alongside Kalakaua Avenue was teeming with Honolulu police who were riding bicycles up and down the street and regulating the one lane of traffic that was open. Traffic was a nightmare for those unfortunate travelers who didn’t get to be on foot during, before, and after the parade.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0376

Photo use terms: OK to use for personal and non-commercial purposes. News, blogs, and website use is OK with proper image credit in the title or image description: Photo: Pasha Yushin |

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Maui GMO Moratorium

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0364

Maui County GMO Moratorium was ruled invalid by the U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway. It was another clear case of failed Democracy in the U.S. and Hawaii. Majority of residents of Maui County voted in favor of GMO Moratorium to ban GMO use until proven safe. However, on Tuesday, June 30th 2015, Susan Mollway ruled that the ordinance creating the prohibition exceeds the county’s authority and that federal and state laws supersede county laws. Maui County spokesperson said Maui County will abide by the ruling. The ruling, which essentially overturned majority people’s vote in favor of the 1% of farms on Maui – the GMO farms and the chemical biotech corporate giants behind those GMO farms.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0374

On November 4th, 2014 the people of Maui County voted in favor of the GMO Moratorium, also known as GMO Initiative to ban the cultivation of GMO crops until proven safe. Biotech companies spent around $8 million dollars in an attempt to defeat this bill by confusing the people and applying fraudulent fear tactics to their marketing campaigns using broad untruthful and misleading slogans such as calling the measure a “Farming Ban,” even though there was only a ban on GMO cultivation until proven safe and most of Maui farms don’t grow GMOs.

Maui GMO farms vs. Total Farms

That’s great news for Maui, Hawaii, and even the whole of the U.S. since the fight against the biotech giants is not an easy one, especially due to the fact that they are hand in hand with the federal, as well as other branches of the U.S. government with billions of dollars at their disposal. While GMO labeling measures failed in two other states during the 2014 U.S. general election, the people of Maui were able to really grab the bull by the horns by passing a GMO Moratorium to ban GMOs until proven safe, while spending less than $100,000 on getting the word out, compared to $8 million spent on similar efforts by the biotech giants such as the infamous Monsanto.

Maui County Farms vs. GMO farms by area

Maui GMO ban is not the first time Hawaii voted against GMOs. Recently the Big Island of Hawaii banned the cultivation of any new GMO varieties, while the island of Kauai passed measures to limit GMO technology. The anti-GMO movement is continually growing, as people are becoming more aware of the health risks and other environmental hazards associated with GMOs. Many people who live close to GMO cultivation or have worked with GMOs know first hand that GMO cultivation is a health hazard.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0229

The biotech industry has immediately filed a lawsuit against the passing of the Maui GMO ban. It will be another fight, but the fact is that the people of Maui County voted in favor of Maui GMO ban and the biotech industry should respect the people’s choice because if they don’t, then they’re not respecting the rules of Democracy and the will of the people.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0230

One day after the passing of the Maui GMO ban Monsanto Co. and Dow Agrochemicals filed a lawsuit against the Maui GMO ban, a federal judge U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren blocked Maui GMO ban until December 1, 2014. The reason for the lawsuit against the GMO ban and the blocking of the law by the federal judge is that Maui GMO ban would cause irreparable damage to the biotech industry. The reason for upholding the law is that the GMO biotech industry is causing irreparable harm to the health of Maui residents, as well as the ecosystem.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0235

Hawaii remains the world’s GMO capital, where many new GMO varieties are constantly being developed due to a year-round growing climate and a central location in the Pacific Ocean between Asia and the Americas. However, as more and more people become aware of the dangers of GMOs – more and more people disapprove of GMO and pass laws to protect themselves Hawaii and beyond.

Aloha Aina March Waikiki Hawaii 8.8.15 201520150809_0375

“Say No to GMO” song!

Say No To GMO by Pasha

Made in Hawaii, played worldwide! 2015 single “Say No to GMO” was written and recorded in Honolulu, Hawaii in 432 Hz frequency – the natural frequency! “Say No To GMO song is dedicated to the Non-GMO organic movement across the world – to all those who stand up for a world free from GMOs in Hawaii and beyond.

Support the artist and the message by downloading “Say No to GMO” song here

Say No to GMO song is acoustic, beachy, happy, feel-good music vibe with a socially conscious message against the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) written, recorded, and produced by Pasha.

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms – life forms that have been genetically engineered in the lab through artificial insertion and splicing of different genes and DNA. GMO contamination of the food supply and the environment posses great risks to all living things on our planet Earth.

“Say No To GMO” song is dedicated to the anti-GMO movement across the world – an anthem for all those who stand up for their rights to live in a world free of GMOs – to all those who say ‘NO’ to GMO and to all those who grow organic!

You can support the artist and the cause by downloading the song here:

Spread the message and share it with friends, family, and the world!

Visit Pasha‘s website for more music!

Thank you and Mahalo!


Here are the complete lyrics and guitar chords for “Say No to GMO” by Pasha

Say No to Gmo

guitar tuning: A=432 Hz

(A, E, A, D, E-D) / (A, B, A, B, C#, B)

(F#m E)(D)

Say no to gmo

GMOs gotta go

Go Go Go

Say not to gmo

Caz Gmo’s gotta go

Oh Oh

OMG cause it’s GMO

GMO’s gotta go go go

OMG cause it’s GMO

GMO’s gotta go go

No need to panic

Grow your own organic

Yeah, yeah

We can plant a tree

How happy we will be

That the seed is free

Say no to GMO

Gmo’s gotta go

Go Go Go

Say not to gmo

We don’t want it anymore (I don’t want it no more)

Oh Oh

Power to the people that stand up for their right to know

If it’s GMO or not cause GMO’s gotta go Go Go

Stand up for your rights cause if you don’t then GMOs won’t go

Be the change you wanna see in this world and let it flow

Spread the knowledge you’ve been given and let everyone know

That polluting our planet is a big big no

Making people sick for profit is not the way to go

Be the change you wanna see in the world and let it flow

and sing a song called..



My people got the power

To save this precious flower

Ignorance will fight us

This fight will unite us (D)

Don’t grow no GMO

Caz GMO gonna go

Don’t buy no GMO

and let everyone know


No need to panic

Grow your own organic

Yeah, yeah

We can plant a tree

How happy we will be

That the seed is free

Honolulu Community Leaders Testify on Toxic Herbicides in Kapiolani Park

On September 5, 2014 concerned Honolulu community leaders met with Kapiolani park officials for the second time to try to persuade them to stop spraying highly toxic glyphosate containing herbicide chemicals such as Monsanto’s RoundUp and Honcho in Kapiolani park, Hawaii’s largest and oldest public park.

The meeting started at 3pm and took place at the beautiful Paki Hale where Honolulu community leaders spoke out against the use of harmful herbicides in Kapiolani Park. Some of their valuable and informative testimonies were recorded and are available in the videos throughout this article.

Paki Hale at Kapiolani Park | Organic Hawaii

Paki Hale at Kapiolani Park | Organic Hawaii

Among them were doctors, journalists, farmers, gardeners, concerned park users, environmentalists, artists, musicians, and even the director of the Diamond Head Community Garden Association.

She correctly pointed out the fact that it’s illegal to use these and any other harmful non-organic chemicals in all Honolulu Community Garden locations and that Kapiolani park should be no exception. Especially due to the fact that Kapiolani Park is right next to the Diamond Head Community Garden and both the park and the garden are under the management of the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation.

Supporting the ban on harmful chemicals in Kapiolani Park is a no-brainer decision to a health conscious, moral person. Ultimately, we must pass ordinances and laws that would ban the use of toxic chemicals in all Hawaii public parks across all islands. 


Similar actions, ordinances, and laws have already been passed in other U.S. mainland states such as California, Oregon, and Washington where the use of these toxic herbicide chemicals is prohibited in public parks to protect public health as early as 2001 in Seattle, Washington!

Doesn’t Hawaii and it’s people deserve at least the same kind of protection from controversial and infamous chemicals that have been linked to birth defects, autism, cancer, DNA and cell damage, neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s, etc.?

We hope that Kapiolani park officials, the heads of City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Urban Forestry, as well as Hawaii’s political leaders agree that the people of Hawaii deserve to enjoy chemical-free public parks today!

Action Alert: “Stop Poisoning Kapiolani Park!”

Honolulu Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry Department Hawaii Seal 2014 Organic Hawaii

Save Kapiolani Park

Kapiolani Park is the oldest and the largest public park in Hawaii. It’s enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people each year both locals and tourists alike for family recreation, sports, picnics, community events, and much more. The 300-acre (1.2 km2) Kapiolani park is a gorgeous public park right next to the busy touristy Waikiki district on the island of Oahu. It’s home to the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Shell performance arena, and it’s adjacent to some of the most popular beaches in Hawaii.

Kapiolani Park herbicide sign posted: "Field closed, No Practice, No Games" | Organic Hawaii

Kapiolani Park sign posted: “Field Closed, No Practice, No Games” Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. September 2014

Recently it was discovered that highly toxic broad-spectrum Glyphosate containing herbicides such as RoundUp and Honcho are being sprayed in Kapiolani park on a regular basis. Glyphosate was originally developed by Monsanto. After many independent studies Glyphosate has been been linked to a multitude of severe health conditions, such as: cancer, autism, DNA damage, cell damage, liver damage, and more. It’s highly toxic even in small doses when diluted to 450 times lower than what is used in agricultural applications.

These chemicals are not only toxic to humans and plants, but everything else living including: soil micro organisms, insects including pollinators such as bees and butterflies, earthworms, birds, pets, and aquatic sea life.

During application glyphosate spreads by air and wind, lurks on top of surfaces such as grass, soil, picnic tables, etc. and leaches down through the soil eventually reaching the nearby ocean. It creates invisible (to the human eye) pollution of the soil that we walk on, the air that our children breathe, and the ocean that so many enjoy.

photo 5-2

So far there have been two community meetings with the purpose of having park officials stop spraying toxic poison in Kapiolani Park. As of now the City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation and Urban Forestry Division is reluctant to stop spraying these highly toxic products in public places despite multiple expert and community testimonies.

Honolulu Park officials are saying that since the government has no legal restriction (laws) against the use of glyphosate and other highly toxic chemicals in Kapiolani park and other public places of Hawaii, therefore, it’s ok for them to keep on using them, despite the abundance of independent studies showing high toxicity of these infamous products and despite other Public Parks in mainland U.S. states having banned their use and passed laws to protect their communities.

Right now we need to create a social mass awareness about the poisoning of Kapiolani Park that’s going on since most Hawaii residents and tourists alike are completely unaware of glyphosate use in Hawaii public parks. We need to tell our families, our neighbors, coworkers, and friends about this situation to create mass awareness, which would create social change.

Take Action! If you’re NOT OK with Honolulu park officials spraying toxic chemicals in Kapiolani park and other Hawaii public parks you need to email, call, send fax, or write a letter to:

Department of Parks and Recreation
Michele K. Nekota, Director
Jeanne C. Ishikawa, Deputy Director

1000 Uluohia Street, Suite 309
Kapolei, Hawaii 96707
Phone:(808) 768-3003
Fax: (808) 768-3053

You can also contact your local political and community leaders and ask them to support banning the use of toxic chemicals in Hawaii public places including public parks such as Kapiolani. Also, come to the 3rd Meeting (to be announced) to voice your support for chemical free parks in Hawaii.

You don’t have to write or say a lot if you don’t want to. For example (you can even copy/paste/adapt the text below):

Sample letter A

Aloha (name of person you’re contacting),

I’m not OK with Honolulu Public Park officials using toxic chemicals in Kapiolani Park and other public places. Please stop immediately. These chemicals are toxic to the Hawaiian ecosystem and have been scientifically linked to many severe health problems in humans.


(your name)

Sample letter B

Aloha Dear Michele K. Nekota and Jeanne C. Ishikawa,

Please, take necessary steps ASAP to stop using glyphosate and any other harmful highly toxic products such as Monsanto’s RoundUp and Honcho in public parks. These chemicals put the people of Hawaii health at risk and pollute the environment. These are very toxic chemicals and we the people of Hawaii demand ban on their use. There have already been two meetings on this issue at Kapiolani Park. There’s overwhelming evidence that these chemicals damage DNA, reproductive damage, cause cancer, autism, and the list goes on. They are highly toxic. If you really care about people’s health and the Aina, then please take action immediately to address this major issue.


(optional: who you are: examaple: Waikiki resident, Hawaii parks user, community gardener, attorney, doctor, police officer, engineer, etc.)

(your name)


10.2.14 Gandhi’s 145th Birthday Celebration!

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi and International Day of Nonviolence

GIIP invites you to celebrate the 145th birthday and Hawaii’s 9th Annual Celebration, of one of the world’s great leaders, Mahatma Gandhi. As a pioneer of Satyagraha, or resistance through vast non-violent civil disobedience, he became one of the most important political and spiritual leaders of his time. The event includes an interfaith discussion for world peace, multicultural dances, and music by the Royal Hawaiian Band.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2014 ~ 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

WHERE: Outside the Honolulu Zoo in front of the Gandhi Statue

(Located between Diamond Head and Waikiki at the corner of Kapahulu Ave and Kalakaua Ave. The Zoo parking lot entrance is on Kapahulu Ave and is metered parking. The Waikiki Shell parking lot across the screet on Monsarrat Ave has free parking.)

For any questions, contact Raj Kumar, Ph.D., President at:


We suggest participants wear white comfortable attire during this event. Also, please bring sitting mats or chairs.

Volunteers and donations appreciated.


9.18.14 “Staying Healthy This Cold and Flu Season” Lecture

Hawaiian bird in Kauai

Free lecture by Dean Morris, Master Herbalist on the subject of “Staying Healthy This Cold and Flu Season.”

“Master Herbalist, Dean Morris, will teach us how to kick off cold and flu season with strong immune systems! Join him for this informative talk on September 18 from 6:00-7:30PM in the Honolulu Community Room (Room 302). This event is free and open to the public.” – source: Down To Earth

For info, call (808) 947-3249

RSVP due to limited seating


Down to Earth Honolulu Community Room

2525 South King Street (above store, suite 302)

Honolulu, HI