Protesters occupy farmland to prevent sale

(KTSF by Sean Au)

In an attempt to prevent UC Berkeley from selling a piece of land to developers, a group of protesters planted vegetables to “occupy” the farmland.

Calling itself “Occupy The Farm,” the group of protesters want UC Berkeley to keep Gill Tract intact. Protesters say the farmland used to be 100 acres but has now be reduced to ten acres. It is situated at the edge of Berkeley and Albany. Protesters claim that private developers plan to open a supermarket at the location.

From Sunday, protesters began to remove weeds from the land and planted rows of leafy greens, squash and beans. Their goal is to plant 10,000 bulbs and seedlings.

The movement’s spokesperson Anya Kamenskaya says, “There has been over fifteen years of activism on behalf of university students, professors, and local community members to preserve this land for agriculture and we do not want to see it re-zoned for commercial use, and so we are here planting and ensuring that that will not happen.”

UC Berkeley says the site for development is a different piece of land. They plan to reach out to protesters, but may take action if the occupation threatens ongoing research projects. UC Berkeley further says that the protesters are in violation of campus policy and state law, and if the occupation continues, those policies and laws will be enforced when it can be done safely and effectively.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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