Occupy the Farm protesters break into UC-owned land, tend to crops

The Occupy the Farm encampment on April 16, 2012 included tents, a kitchen, various gardening supplies, and a chicken coop.
Danielle Lee/File
The Occupy the Farm encampment on April 16, 2012 included tents, a kitchen, various gardening supplies, and a chicken coop.

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ALBANY, Calif. — Occupy the Farm protesters broke into UC-owned research land in Albany for the fifth time on Sunday to tend to crops they planted there in the spring.

As UCPD monitored the gate, protesters cut a hole in the fence that surrounds the Gill Tract research land to let in about 30 protesters who had gathered there by noon to harvest.

“We have a long-term vision for the entire Gill Tract to be turned into a center for urban agriculture where people can learn about food justice education and do practical research on soil contamination,” said Anya Kamenskaya, an Occupy the Farm member and a UC Berkeley alumna.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said UC Berkeley does not have the resources to monitor the area full time but will continue considering whether to allow protesters to cultivate the land. The officers at the site today were told to monitor the protesters and make sure they did not pick or damage any of the produce grown by campus researchers, according to UCPD Sgt. Chris Olivet.

UCPD officers eventually opened the gate for a period of time, allowing protesters to enter and leave freely.

“At this point, we are discussing and evaluating possible options,” Mogulof said. “The key priority is protecting academic freedom and any research students have.”

Yet, Occupy the Farm member David Grefrath said he does not see any collaboration happening until the campus agrees to have people specializing in urban agriculture tend to the land in an environmentally sustainable way.

Protests from the Occupy the Farm members began in April after Albany City Council started considering a proposal that would allow the construction of a Whole Foods Market, a senior housing complex and a mixed retail center on a portion of land belonging to UC Berkeley’s University Village housing complex. The proposal was approved by the council in July, but construction has yet to begin.

Contact Alyssa Neumann at [email protected].

A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Amruta Trivedi as the author of the article. In fact, Alyssa Neumann wrote the article.

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  • I_h8_disqus

    The hypocrisy of the Office of Student Conduct. They will punish students for having a party, but they are won’t punish students for unlawful entry and destruction to university property. Cal has always had a hard time figuring out which students become a benefit to the university and which ones don’t. That is why Cal’s alumni donations are so small compared to Stanford and Harvard.

    • Russell Bates

      my guess would be donations from alumni are down because when they went to u.c. it WAS a public university.now seems to be becoming a privatized corporate funded institution.

      • I_h8_disqus

        I don’t know if I would agree with you about the reason donations are down, but I do know that I hate that buildings and other things that were named after important people to Cal like academics or chancellors are being renamed for donors or political activists. For example, I still refer to Kleeberger field instead of calling it by the new name the university gave the field because of a donation.

      • Stan De San Diego

        ” privatized corporate funded institution.”

        Another squawking parrot repeating silly talking points with no substance to back it up.

    • Stan De San Diego

      “Cal has always had a hard time figuring out which students become a benefit to the university and which ones don’t.”

      A bunch of aging left-wing 1960’s hippie holdover academics trying to relive their youth vicariously through the Occupy “movement” doesn’t seem to help the situation one bit.

  • Andand

    Cutting a hole in a fence so that you can plant crops on land you don’t own? Can someone please arrest these people already?

  • guest2

    Who exactly voted for these Occupiers? Why do they get any say at all in how that land is used? Who is supposed to pay for the research they advocate? You can only get work from naive volunteers for so long before you actually have to pay people to work the land. How do they propose to do that? Who is going to decide which people have the proper credentials to do the research? Who gets to decide what is “ecological” enough for them? Who gave them the right to decide? The problem with this movement is that it has absolutely no respect for anyone else and, beyond the political theater, they have no idea what they are doing. Arrogance and self-righteousness combined with scientific and economic illiteracy is not the way to get to a better world. These people should go buy their own land and show us all how it should be done instead of forcing their way onto University property. Oh, and Urban Farming as a solution of issues of food insecurity is a profoundly stupid idea. The most ecologically efficient people in the US live in NYC because of high density, which saves land for farming outside of the city. Transportation of vegetables uses up less than 6% of the energy used to grow and distribute them, and waste of veggies from “subscription” farms like Full Belly Farms is far higher than normal because no one actually eats vast quantities of kale or beats all and once, and most of us don’t actually have the time or inclination to preserve the excess. Whatever. The point is that these people actually want us to think that half-baked Marxism (“the Farm Collective” certainly has disturbing connotations if you grew up in Russia or China in the 50s and 60s) combined with food fetishism and land theft is somehow a good idea because they speak for the people, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Honestly, their “solution” for poverty and hunger in Oakland is to convince poor African Americans and Latinos to go back to the farm. In the City. Seriously. Are the rest of you buying this crap?

    • libsrclowns

      The Confused Libs running UC model the “no consequences” behavior that has effed up this nation. No accountability, no responsibility. Dumb fu-ks.
      This is why I stopped giving money to UC.

  • Guest

    Occupy Farm protesters are a bunch of no-good losers.

    • Russell Bates

      losers are afraid to post their name.

      • Dan Spitzer

        Hey, if my name was Master Bates I would think twice about posting my name. And Master Bates, since we know who you are aren’t you embarrassed to post under your own name? We all know that you are a devotee of KPFA and a loony left idiot-louge. ‘Nuff said…

        • Russell Bates

          alright,now tell me about my bad points.

      • I_h8_disqus

        One of the truly great things about the US is that there are privacy rights. Just as soon as you give up your right to privacy, you can talk about people posting anonymously.

        • Russell Bates

          good point

      • Stan De San Diego

        In have been posting online since the Usenet days of the 1990’s and used to use my full name until one of your left-wing fellow traveler kooks started stalking me, posting personal information including my home address and telephone number, encouraging people to come by and vandalize my residence. At that point I decided it wasn’t a good idea any more. Got it?