*Meet at North Berkeley BART (Acton and Delaware St.) at 6 PM TONIGHT, 5/9. We will march to the Gill Tract Farm!*
At 6:30 AM this morning, UC Police arrived at the Gill Tract Farm in Albany. They set up cement barricades to block entrances to the land, announced that ‘chemical agents’ would be used against those who interfered, and as of now are still mobilized around the farm with riot gear and zip ties. No arrests have been made.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to experience the farm – or if you’ve been there since the occupation began – tonight is the night for us to mobilize in support of this beautiful project. Meet at North Berkeley BART at 6:00 PM (Acton and Delaware St.) and we will march to the Gill Tract Farm to support our comrades, the land and food sovereignty. Bring banners, signs, warm clothes, tents and sleeping gear (if you’d like to stay overnight)!
The UCPD has been issuing daily warnings to occupiers since the occupation began. Today, they escalated these warnings by barricading entrances to the farm, where they remain mobilized. Let’s show UC administrators and UCPD that we will not be intimidated. FARMLAND IS FOR FARMING!
On Earth Day, April 22, hundreds of urban farming advocates – including community members, students and occupiers – reclaimed the five-acre plot known as Gill Tract, planting rows of vegetables, establishing a youth garden and building community in a sustainable and peaceful way.
The land represents one of the only agricultural spaces with ‘class-one’ soil left in the East Bay. UC Berkeley administrators would prefer to develop the plot, ignoring the work and voices of community members for at least the last decade. In 2000, the Bay Area Coalition for Urban Agriculture presented a proposal to the university for the creation of the ‘world’s first university center on sustainable urban agriculture and food systems.’ It was ignored, as was a later one presented in 2005 by Urban Roots to create the Village Creek Farm and Gardens, ‘a farm that would provide Bay Area students from preschool to community college and university with an educational resource par excellence.’
From UCB Professors Miguel A. Altieri (Agroecology) and Claudia J. Carr (Environmental Science):
“The rapid urbanization that is taking place in the Bay Area goes hand in hand with a rapid increase in urban poverty and food insecurity, a situation aggravated by the economic crisis affecting California. Half a million people are at risk of hunger every month. About 38 percent of them are children…Many low-income urban residents in the Bay Area reside in ‘food deserts,’ i.e. in areas having limited access to affordable and nutritious food, particularly in lower income neighborhoods and communities.
The benefits of urban agriculture go beyond producing food: they extend to the promotion of local economic development, poverty alleviation and social inclusion of the poor — and of women, in particular. Urban agriculture also contributes to the urban ecosystem by greening the city, productively reusing urban wastes, conserving pollinators and wildlife, and saving energy involved in the transport of food (in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions!).”
From ‘Occupy the Farm’:
“We are reclaiming this land to grow healthy food to meet the needs of local communities. We envision a future of food sovereignty, in which our East Bay communities make use of available land – occupying it where necessary – for sustainable agriculture to meet local needs. This particular plot of land is very special:
– These are the last acres of Class One soil left in the urbanized East Bay. Ninety percent of the original land has been paved over and developed, irreverisibly contaminating the land.
– Students, professors, and community have fought for decades to save this amazing land from development and use it for sustainable agriculture.
– UCB capital projects currently administors this land and has slated it for rezoning and redevelopment in 2013 (i.e. supermarkets, parking lots, and apartments).
– The University uses the land to research corn genetics. This research can be conducted anywhere as opposed to this unique site.”
UCPD, WE DON’T NEED YOU!
FARMLAND IS FOR FARMING!
LONG LIVE THE GILL TRACT FARM!