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Farm protesters decide to stay, solidify conditions for disbanding encampment

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MAY 07, 2012

Protesters occupying UC-owned land in Albany released a list of demands Monday they wish be met by the campus if they dismantle their encampment.

The release of demands follows up on a Friday request from the campus that the protesters decide by Saturday night to disband the camp and open up discussion with campus officials or stay and face legal action.

Protesters unanimously voted Monday afternoon to maintain the encampment, according to spokesperson Anya Kamenskaya.

The demands were made public in a press release — which also included a statement of goals and a clarification that the protesters responded to the Saturday deadline by postponing the decision till Monday.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the campus did not have a chance to form a statement in response as of Monday night.

Read the demands below:

The Gill Tract Farmers Collective looks forward to addressing our mutual concerns around the unimpeded work of the Gill Tract researchers. We understand that the nature of genetic research necessitates extra precautions for the security of those experiments.

When the University presents a concrete proposal that satisfies the following concerns, we will break up the camp so that the researchers have access to their plots. The concerns are:

1. That municipal water at the Gill Tract be made available to us.

2. That the Farmer’s Collective and larger community have access to the field in order that we may:

a. Tend to the crops we have planted on the East side of the field.

b. Maintain the children’s garden in the northwest corner of the tract, as well as the BASIL seed bank homecoming site on the edge of the west field.

3. That in order to protect the organic food crops, the long-term health of the soil, the beehive, as well as the neighbors, including children and families, the researchers/the University refrain from the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizer or plastic tarp in the soil on the farm.

We continue to be willing to facilitate this transition process for the researchers and to work jointly toward such tasks as the construction of new fences or gates would allow for our access to the locations referenced in Condition 2, so long as these conditions are met.

We look forward to further discussion around how to make this a truly collaborative process for all stakeholders in the Gill Tract. This includes not only the Albany community, the Gill Tract Farmer’s Collective and UC Berkeley, but also the residents of the greater East Bay. Because of its unique location in a thriving urban area, any future use of the Gill Tract has an immediate impact on East Bay food sovereignty, equity and access issues. We hope that more consideration for the time that is necessary to facilitate an open community dialogue is respected and that the UC ceases to levy ultimatums such as the one issued on Friday, May 4th.

Christopher Yee is an assistant news editor.

MAY 08, 2012

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