Re-posted from the Patch
UPDATE, 8:27 a.m.
Activists are planting dry farm tomatoes in Miguel Altieri’s plots in the Gill Tract after a flurry of activity this morning when police closed off one entrance to the site and brought in concrete barriers.
(See tweets and photographs from the morning here via Albany Patch.)
Lesley Haddock of Occupy the Farm said police told activists they weren’t planning to arrest anyone today, but that they were planning to evict people from the Gill Tract.
“It looks like we’ll be able to continue farming,” she said. “We’re still picking up our shovels and helping Miguel Altieri with his planting.”
Altieri had announced plans to visit the Gill Tract with a group of students this morning to work with activists to plant about 1,500 dry-farm tomatoes.
He said his goal had been to show the university that research and the occupation could coexist, but that he wasn’t sure about bringing in his students given the police presence. Altieri, a professor since 1981, said he didn’t want to put any of them in harm’s way, or put them in a position that would threaten their coursework.
Activists have been taking down Altieri’s cover crop of fava beans, and digging up the soil in his plots to plant tomatoes.
Altieri added that “all the other researchers” on the Gill Tract are adjunct faculty affiliated with the USDA.
“They don’t have an academic title,” he told several filmmakers. “I’m the only one. They don’t have the same rights.”
Around 7:30 a.m., activists coordinated to move many tents and camp items to the lot south of Village Creek.
Altieri said that had been “the plan all along,” to leave the agricultural land clear for the other researchers.
He said he didn’t know if the activists planned to stay on the southern lot or not.
Multiple news agencies and helicopters came to the site to report on the morning’s police activity.
University of California police officers remained around the site, keeping watch over the entrances and filming people who walked in and out of the site on the eastern side of the access road.
They had closed off the western entrance to the side, near Ocean View School, but left the eastern entrance to the access road slightly open to allow people to enter and exit.
Just after the police arrived, several activists piled up sleeping bags and other posessions on the outside of the Gill Tract fence. They said they removed them from the site to protect them from seizure.
As of 8:45 a.m., it appeared that at least 40 people remained at the site working and preparing for the day.
An early-morning text went out from Occupy the Farm on Wednesday describing developing police activity at the Gill Tract.
According to the 6:24 a.m. message, “UC police just locked the West gate to the Farm. They barricaded the East gate to San Pablo. No arrests but ‘chemical agents’ will be used on those who interfere.”
A second message followed just before 6:40 a.m.: “Looks like UCPD is staging to raid the Farm. Please mobilize. Come to the Gill Tract if you can.”
Via AnonCodeframe on Twitter: “URGENT! #ucpd locking entrances to #OccupyTheFarm with ulocks and padlocks! Threatened use of chemical agents if interfered with. We need people down here NOW”
AnonCodeframe said he or she would be “live-streaming” from the Gill Tract, as of 6:11 a.m., but the page for the live stream was down as of 6:37 a.m. with the following message: “The service is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.”
Another live stream was broadcasting as of 6:45 a.m.
This story will be updated as soon as possible, but visit Albany Patch on Twitter for updates, or check #occupythefarm search results.
Click the “Keep me posted” button below for an update when we publish future stories on this topic. Read more on Albany Patch about the Gill Tract occupation.