By Derrick DePledge
Wealthy mainland philanthropists continued to help underwrite the anti-genetically modified organism movement in Hawaii in 2012.
The Ceres Trust, a Northfield, Minn.-based private foundation led by Kent Whealy, a seed preservation activist, and Judith Kern, a philanthropist, donated $228,550 to Hawaii SEED in 2012, federal tax records show.
The Koloa-based Hawaii SEED is behind groups such as GMO-Free Kauai, which was among the leaders in the push for a GMO and pesticide regulation law on Kauai last year. Hawaii County, meanwhile, approved a law restricting new GMO crops.
The Ceres Trust had donated $145,490 to Hawaii SEED in 2011.
Whealy and Kern are also major donors to the Center for Food Safety, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that has challenged the biotechnology industry. The Center for Food Safety has offered legal help to defend Kauai County from a federal lawsuit from biotech companies.
The Ceres Trust donated $550,000 to the Center for Food Safety in 2012. The trust also gave the center $550,000 in 2011 and $650,000 in 2010, tax records show.
Tax filings for 2013 -- the year the anti-GMO movement broke through politically in Hawaii -- will not be publicly available for another year.