‘Occupy the Farm’ evicted in East Bay

A UC Berkeley research field in the adjoining municipality of Albany that had been planted with winter greens in October by Occupy activists was ploughed under at the order of university authorities Nov. 16. The field, known as the Gill Tract, was occupied on Earth Day, April 22, and dubbed by activists “Occupy the Farm,” with a vision of developing it as a community agro-ecology project. Crops planted then were similarly destroyed by UC, and nine arrested in a May 14 raid by UC police. But activists re-took the site in October, holding a punpkin-carving festival and planting the new crops. UC issued a letter upon razing the crops to the Albany city council calling the occupation a “threat to academic freedom.” The contrasts a more conciliatory open letter issued in May pledging open “debate and dialogue” about the future of the site. In recent years, the field has largely been off-limits to the public, though local activist groups have repeatedly asked the university to open up the space to community residents. (Berkeley Patch, Nov. 18; Berkeleyside, Nov. 16; UC Berkeley News  Center, May 18; Berkeleyside, May 14; IndyBay, April 24)

See our last post on the struggle in East Bay.