posted by Northbay MDS affiliate "San Pablo Bay Sovereignty" think-tank [link].
2014-03-07 from "Occupy the Farm!" [email@example.com] [www.occupythefarm.org]:
CA -- On March 5th, Albany’s City Council chambers were unable to
accommodate the crowd that showed up to speak against a commercial
development plan proposed for the Gill Tract Farm, a piece of land
currently under the control of UC Capital Projects. Despite
overwhelming public opposition to the development, the council voted to
adopt a proposal that would pave over this rare historic public farmland
to build an assisted living facility and Sprouts chain supermarket. In
response, students, community members, and other stakeholders will hold
a General Assembly on Sunday, March 9, 2-5pm at the Albany Senior
Center, and a protest rally on March 12 at noon in front of California
Members of the UC Berkeley community composed a large portion
of the crowd, joining Albany residents, activists, and urban farmers
from all over the East Bay voicing concerns about the consequences of
losing rare urban agricultural farmland that compound the privatization
and dismantling of California’s public university system.
Professor Emeritus Andrew Gutierrez commented: “$140 billion is lost in
the US per year due to invasive species. Gill Tract was designed to
combat these kinds of problems. We are giving away our legacy and we get
Five and Dimes.” The sentiment was echoed by UC Berkeley student
Jonathan Reader: “The University is one of the top research institutions
in the world. And the conversation being had in the classrooms and
between professors and students is: ‘we need to fix food.’ The tool to
do it is sitting right here. It is waiting for the city to utilize it.”
for Sunday’s General Assembly and Wednesday’s protest were announced at
an impromptu meeting following the Council decision. Student
participation in this hearing illustrates renewed campus interest in the
Gill Tract, and a coalition of student groups and community members
showcased their alternative designs for the contested land: an
agricultural learning and research center focused on agroecological
methods of food production on the Gill Tract.
The Gill Tract is one
of the only contiguous pieces of farmland left in the urbanized East
Bay. Now a mere twenty acres, the land stood at over one hundred acres
when it first came under the administration of UC Berkeley. Fed by the
rising and receding cycle of two creeks which run through the land, the
Gill Tract Farm is some of the last Class 1 (best) soil remaining in the
urbanized east bay area.
For a more in-depth summary of the March 5th meeting, visit the Student Environmental Research Center blog.