Big Island International Food Justice Summit Slated

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Noelie Rodriguez. Courtesy photo.

Noelie Rodriguez. Courtesy photo.

Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action, along with Pesticide Action Network North America, will host “Challenging Global Impacts of the Agrochemical Industry: 2016 Food Justice Summit” between Jan. 15 and Jan. 20, with a Big Island Specific summit on Jan. 15.

The Big Island summit will be hosted at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo’s University Classroom Building 100 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Five experts in global food justice, environment, human rights, GMOs, and pesticide issues from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, and Hawai’i will participate in the event. The speakers will speak about their experiences in Hawai’i and around the globe of struggles to preserve rights of local farmers against corporate land grabs, for workers rights, protection from pesticides, and food sovereignty issues.


Professor Noelie Rodriguez will host and emcee the UH-Hilo summit. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently a faculty advisor for Global Hawai’i Organizing for Peace and the Environment and is currently a professor at Hawai’i Community College.

Rodriguez was the organizer and first director of the UH-Hilo Women’s Center. She also operated a certified organic farm with her husband Chris Yuen, together they grow apple bananas, rambutans, and lychee.

International speakers at the event include:


Alika Atay, a Hawaiian cultural educator in the areas of organic farming, natural Korean farming methods, agricultural pedagogy, and native wisdom for guiding a shift to safe farming and local food systems for Hawai’i and the world.

Mariann Bassey Orovwuie, a program manager of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, a Nigerian advocacy non-governmental organization.

Sarojeni V. Rengam, the executive director of PAN Asia and the Pacific in Malaysia.


Eva Schürmann is an activist with MultiWatch, a Swiss-based group that monitors multinational corporations headquartered in Switzerland, and their violations of human rights around the globe.

Adelita San Vicente Tello is the director of Semillas de Vida Fundacion in Mexico

The 2016 Food Justice Summit will also take place at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Kaua’i Community College, and at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the summit will include a “Convergence on the Capitol” to support the efforts of groups in the community leading the charge for rights to land, water, and food. The event will coincide with the opening day of the Legislature.

HAPA is an organization that is state-wide and whose mission is to catalyze community empowerment and systemic change towards valuing ‘aina and people ahead of corporate profit. The organization reaches towards fair and sustainable food systems, economic justice, community-based resource stewardship, and reclaiming democracy.

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