Joni Kamiya is an occupational therapist by training and an ag-vocate in Hawaii on the biotechnology issue. She is a wife, mother of three, and the daughter of long-time papaya farmer and Hawaii Papaya Industry Association president, Kenneth Kamiya. Her experience with biotechnology started in the early research on cross protection of the papayas back in the early 1990s as a lab assistant. At that time, the papaya ringspot virus was ravaging crops across the state and continuing the family farm did not seem to be a viable option to pursue, so she furthered her education in health care. After completing her BS at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, she continued her education at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine in the Occupational Therapy program, where she was introduced to systems thinking and evidence based practice concepts. She spent eight years living away from Hawaii working with the elderly and eventually moved back to her hometown. As the biotech controversy started to emerge in Hawaii, she became an ag-vocate in the social media circles to help defend her family’s farm. She founded her blog, the “Hawaii Farmer’s Daughter,” to speak out for the technology that saved her family’s three-generation farm. Through networking on social media, she has been instrumental in developing an even greater circle of fellow ag-vocates to help strengthen the voices of farmers in Hawaii to promote education on biotechnology.
From this Expert
Q: Why dont GMO businesses ever try to sell at farmers markets, and put their confidence in the presence of all the purists?
Posted On: Thursday, 3/26/2015 1:02 pm
Answered By: Joni Kamiya, Papaya Farmer, Monday, 7/06/2015 9:47 pm
A: In Hawaii, papayas are a staple crop that consumers buy regularly. It's one that is frequently found in farmers' markets across our state. The majority of what is sold is GM due to the ringspot virus pressure that remains a problem for many growers across the islands. There are non-GMO varieties and they are occasionally found at markets.
By Joni Kamiya (Independent Expert) on Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 21:58
Joni Kamiya, an advocate in Hawaii on many science issues, explains the story of the GM papaya and how it impacts the state, the economy and her family.
By Joni Kamiya (Independent Expert) on Friday, May 5, 2017 - 08:54
On April 22, 2017, Marches for Science were held around the world. Here, a Hawaiian papaya farmer's daughter talks about how GMO technology saved the papaya at the Honolulu March for Science.