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East Bay | Environment & Forest Defense | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Hundreds of Farmers Occupy UC Berkeley's Gill Tract farm in Albany
On Sunday, April 22nd, Earth Day, the Love the Land March began, following a rally in Ohlone Park at Sacramento Avenue in Berkeley. The event was organized as "a demonstration of the community’s commitment to food security in the East Bay" by "proponents of organic, non-GMO, locally grown foods." There were public speakers, skill shares, and a potluck at the rally in Ohlone Park.
After marching through North Berkeley, hundreds of people, including many local farmers, occupied UC Berkeley's Gill Tract farm. The ten-plus acre Gill Tract, at the corners of Marin and San Pablo Avenues in Albany, rests within a thermal belt considered one of the finest horticultural zones in California.
The farmers and their supporters have quickly prepared the field for an urban sustainable agriculture farm.
The University of California has a very different agenda for the Albany Gill Tract; they intend to sell the land to commercial developers.
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Love the Land March: Earth Day
The Gill Tract – Urban farm sanctuary, or just another lot slated for development?
Occupy the Farm Activists Reclaim Prime Urban Agricultural Land in SF Bay Area
(Albany, Calif.), April 22, 2012 – Occupy the Farm, a coalition of local residents, farmers, students, researchers, and activists are planting over 15,000 seedlings at the Gill Tract, the last remaining 10 acres of Class I agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay area. The Gill Tract is public land administered by the University of California, which plans to sell it to private developers.
For decades the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site for urban sustainable agriculture and hands-on education. With deliberate disregard for public interest, the University administrators plan to pave over this prime agricultural soil for commercial retail space, a Whole Foods, and a parking lot.
Occupy the Farm reclaims UC Gill Tract in Albany: photos
Two to three hundred people marched from the Earth Day rally at Ohlone Park in Berkeley to the Gill Tract in Albany. The land is the last best farmland in the East Bay, but the University of California intends to sell much of it to private developers so that a Whole Foods grocery store and parking lot can be built. Immediately upon arrival, people began to clear and till the land.
UC police arrived within an hour and announced that those present were trespassing and enforcement might come after 10pm. When informed of the presence of families with children, the two UC officers said plenty of notice would be given before any possible police action. The officers also said that journalists covering the farming would not be arrested.
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