‘Ōlelo Hosts ‘GMO Week’ of One-Hour Shows on Genetically Modified Organisms – Big Island to Simulcast on Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi

‘Ōlelo Community Media has gathered people from both sides of the GMO (genetically modified organisms) debate for four nights of signature programming that aims to delve more deeply into this often divisive issue.



“The subject of GMOs is clearly one that many people in our community feel passionately about,” says Roy Amemiya, president & CEO of ‘Ōlelo. “We hope that GMO Week will help all of us gain a better understanding of both the pros and cons of GMO so that our community can create solutions that are in the best interest of Hawai‘i.”

Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi will be simulcasting ‘Ōlelo’s pre-recorded and live shows debating the topic of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) June 24-27 at 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Channel 54.

Shows regularly scheduled on Channel 54 on Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi, such as Astrology with Rollin Frost and Aloha Chapel will air on Channel 53. Program listings can be found at www.naleo.tv

GMO Week launches on Monday, June 24 and continues through Thursday, June 27, running from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. each night. The ‘Ōlelo signature productions will air on Oahu on ‘Ōlelo Channel O‘AHU 55.

Because Neighbor Island interest in GMOs is so great, the shows will be also available during the same times on all of the Neighbor Islands through Channel 54, thanks to the local community access providers Akakū in Maui County, Nā Leo ʻO Hawaiʻi on the Big Island and Hō‘ike Kauai.

The shows will also available for online viewing through ‘ŌleloNet On Demand by visiting www.olelo.org.

Monday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 25

GMO Week starts with two pre-recorded shows from panels that convened earlier this month. The June 25 show will present a continuation of what airs on June 24. On the first night, 30 minutes of programming from the pro-GMO panel will be presented first, followed by 30 minutes from the anti-GMO panel. On the second night, the order will switch, with 30 minutes from the anti-GMO panel to air first, followed by the pro-GMO panel.

Chad Blair of Honolulu Civil Beat served as the moderator for a pro-GMO panel that featured Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, director of the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo; Dean Okimoto, owner of Nalo Farms and president of the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau; and Adolph Helm, project manager for Dow AgriSciences’ Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i Mycogen Seeds, and the Seeds and Traits Research and Development Project, as well as a board member of the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association.

Beth-Ann Kozlovich of Hawai‘i Public Radio served as the moderator for the anti-GMO panel. That panel featured Walter Ritte, manager and teacher at Keawenui Fishpond and Learning Center of Moloka‘i; Gary Hooser, Kaua‘i County councilmember and chair of the Agriculture and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee; and Scott Cooney, an adjunct professor of sustainability at the Shidler College of Business at UH Manoa.

Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27

In an ‘Ōlelo first, the public statewide is encouraged to participate in two live discussions on GMOs through live tweets or pre-submitted comments by phone. Questions or comments by phone should be submitted by calling 834.5303 no later than 4 p.m. on June 27. To submit questions via Twitter, the community is asked to use the hashtag #olelogmo. The ‘Ōlelo web page on this topic is www.olelo.org/gmo.

Questions submitted by the community will be among those discussed by the gathered experts.

The pro-GMO position in both live shows will be represented by the individuals who participated in the pre-recorded panel earlier this month: Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, Dean Okimoto and Adolph Helm.

The anti-GMO position in the June 26 and June 27 live ‘Olelo shows will be represented by the following:

Wednesday, June 26: Dr. William Steiner, dean of the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management; Dr. Hector Valenzuela, professor and crop extension specialist at the UH Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture; and Councilmember Gary Hooser of Kaua‘i.

Thursday, June 27: Dr. Steiner and Councilmember Hooser will be joined by Bill Freese, science policy analyst with the non-profit Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C.

‘Ōlelo hopes to air similar week-long signature productions three to four times each year to explore other important community issues in depth.

For more information, visit www.olelo.org.

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