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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Education & Student Activism | Environment & Forest Defense
An Important Week for the Gill Tract
What an exciting whirlwind week! Thank you again for signing the petition for a Food Initiative on the Gill Tract Farm and supporting this growing campaign to stop the development.
This week brought some interesting developments in the campaign:
- On Tuesday May 6th, UAW 2865, the union that organizes Graduate Student-Workers across the UC, passed a resolution supporting our campaign! The letter can be found here: http://sealstudents.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/graduate-student-workers-union-passes-bill-of-support/
- On Wednesday May 7th, the delegation finally had our first meeting with administrators, armed with over 1000 signatures thanks to your strong support. We met with Vice Chancellor of Real Estate Robert LaLanne, who has direct authority over this development, as well as Kevin Hufford from Capital Projects, and Dan Mogulof, the executive director of Public Affairs.
- Important updates from this meeting: No construction is expected to begin until next year! But there was NO agreement to put a halt to current development plans in favor of a collaborative process with students and community. Berkeley administrators refuse to consider the increasing health and environmental concerns, changing research needs, and current community input. Even with forward-thinking UC initiatives like the UC President's Food Initiative and Net Energy Neutrality Plan, Capital Projects continues to stonewall!
- Just yesterday, May 12th, the delegation met with the Dean of the College of Natural Resources, Keith Gilless. The meeting reinforced our shared commitments to the community-driven farming project that is already happening on the North side, land won through the series of Occupy the Farm encampments and direct actions starting in 2012. While remaining sympathetic to our concerns, the dean did not express any commitment of support for halting development on the south side of the land, though he remained open to on-going conversations.
Far from discouraged, we are empowered and emboldened by these meetings, and have new answers and insights to carry with us to the University of California Board of Regents meeting this Wednesday, May 14th in Sacramento. Students and community members will be speaking during Public Comments, and one student was accepted to attend special lobbying sessions with the Regents. We are committed to taking this campaign to the very top- and we want to bring your voice with us.
We still need your support as we move forward with this promising next step.
What you can do to help:
- Let your friends, family, and local community gardens and sustainability groups know! A Food Initiative on all twenty acres of the Gill Tract could send ripple effects throughout the movements for local foods, food justice and sustainable cities! This is why we have over 13 community co-sponsors that work all the way from local to international levels.
- You can use this sample letter as a template for emails and facebook messages.
- Like us on facebook and share our updates!
- Follow us on twitter: @sealstudents or #foodinitiative #gilltract #all20acres
If you live in the area:
Come out to the open volunteer hours on the Gill Tract to dig your hands into the soil, connect with your local community, and get a glimpse of what this campaign is all about. http://gilltractfarm.wordpress.com/
Students for Engaged and Active Learning