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Farmers target four Sprouts locations to save Gill Tract farm
On Saturday afternoon, urban farmers demonstrated at Sprouts grocery chain locations in Petaluma, Fremont, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. The farmers held banners, distributed flyers, and mic-checked messages urging customers to shop elsewhere until the chain agrees not to pave over the historic Gill Tract farm in Albany.
For Immediate Release
March 1st, 2014
occupyfarmmedia [at] gmail.com
Urban Farmers Demonstrate at Four Sprouts Locations
BAY AREA, CA -- On Saturday afternoon, urban farmers demonstrated at Sprouts grocery chain locations in Petaluma, Fremont, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. The farmers held banners, distributed flyers, and mic-checked messages urging customers to shop elsewhere until the chain agrees not to pave over the historic Gill Tract farm in Albany.
These actions come in the wake of similar actions throughout the week. Farmers oppose plans to develop the Gill Tract, a prime piece of agricultural land administered by UC Berkeley, which has subdivided and developed the original 104 acre plot so that only 20 acres remain. For more than fifteen years community members have been working to preserve the land for urban farming and participatory agricultural research. Sprouts “Farmers Market” is now poised to pave over that precious community resource to build another grocery store.
“It is ironic that Sprouts calls itself a ‘farmers market’ and yet would pave over a piece of land that farmers are asking to use for farming,” said Lesley Haddock, a UC Berkeley student and Petaluma native. “We need more local, urban farms, not more grocery chains.”
The Gill Tract is one of the only contiguous pieces of farmland left in the urbanized East Bay. Its soil has been nourished for centuries by the creek that runs through the land, and now has some of the last prime agricultural soil in the East Bay. Many shoppers at Sprouts said they would not be back, and several left to shop elsewhere.
The group organizing the action, Boycott Sprouts, is asking shoppers to patronize other stores until Sprouts backs away from the development deal, which is slated to be voted upon by the Albany City Council on March 5th.
Cops roll up
We want more farms, not more pavement!