Occupy the Farm – Take Back the Gill Tract Needs Your Support!

 

(photo credit: Subconscious Collective)


On Earth Day 2012, Occupy the Farm: Take Back the Tract launched with an ongoing mass act of moral obedience – farming. People from all walks of life, including families, elders, neighbors and students, occupied the last best agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay, known as the Gill Tract. Trucks were waiting there with 10,000 seedlings, compost, hay, roto-tillers and tools.

Public land currently administered by the University of California (UC), this farmland has dwindled to 10 acres as the UC has sold off and developed most of it. They’re now slating half the remaining parcel for sale to a developer for a supermarket & parking lot. Despite being a uniquely valuable public asset and a potentially equally valuable educational and research opportunity for the UC, the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site into a hands-on educational farm for decades.  Furthermore, the UC’s plans to privatize this unique public asset is only the latest in a string of privatization schemes. Over the last several decades, the UC has increasingly shifted use of the Gill Tract away from sustainable agriculture and towards biotechnology with funding from corporations such as oil & gas giant BP and transnational pharmaceuticals corporation Novartis.

For too long, profit rather than community need, has driven land use in our cities. This has left tens of thousands of families without access to healthy fresh food or the ability to meet their own food needs, especially in working-class communities of color.

Here in the SF Bay Area, we have all we need to both fight for and manifest our vision of a just, healthy food system and a more equitable world. We have the farmers, educators, activists, writers, and organized communities. Now is the time to take a stand and spark urban land reclamation for meeting our own needs everywhere.

Currently, the University is taking police and legal action against the Farm. Now, more than ever, Occupy the Farm needs your support-not just to defend it in this moment, but to show our solidarity for the long-term vision to preserve this precious agricultural land for farming, and not development!

 

WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT OCCUPY THE FARM

  • Sign the online petition Show the UC Berkeley administration that you support the vision of Occupy the Farm – and call on them to stop police action so that the farmers may continue to farm!  Click here for the petition.

 

  • If you are an organization or group that wants to support: Endorse the collective letter of support, being signed by organizations, alliances and groups nation-wide. To sign on, please emailoccupythefarmletter@gmail.com.  

 

  • Show up & work hard: Everyone who believes that the best use of farmland is farming – please join in! Our work is our resistance, and the fruit of our labor creates our collective resilience.
    The Farm is located in Albany, on the corner of San Pablo Ave and Marin Ave.

 

  • Take more land, wherever you live: Wherever community needs are not being fulfilled and traditional avenues of change have failed, take space at the required scale to meet these needs. Occupy. Make Productive. Contest the Title.   

 

  • Stay updated:
    –Twitter: @OccupyFarm
    –Facebook: Occupy the Farm –Sign up for text message alerts if you’re local: Text “gilltractfarm” to 41411.
    –Email list: send a message toGillTractFarm@riseup.net with “listserve” in the subject line to be added to the email list.

 

  • Donate to the Farm: Click here to find a link to their online donations page, as well as a current list of needed materials.