Column: Only UC Barricades, Police Stand in Way of Gill Tract Scientists' Research

This statement was released at 1:14 a.m. Monday. Click the "Keep me posted" button below this story for updates on the Gill Tract occupation.

The Gill Tract Farmers Collective has broken down camp and moved it off the plot of Class I agricultural soil and . The only thing standing in the way of the Gill Tract scientists from conducting their research is UC's own barricades and police.* Last week current Gill Tract scientists and and former Gill Tract scientist and professor emeritus Andrew Gutierrez attempted to access the land. They were denied access by a UCPD officer who stated the only person authorized entrance was the dean of UC's College of Natural Resources, . We will continue to maintain access to the plot so that the farmers and community can continue caring for the crops. We intend to coexist with the scientists on the plot this season as interim and future governance is resolved.
Consistent with our statements all along, and consistent with our direct dialogue with the scientists over the past three weeks, we have made the collective decision to move off the plot of Class I soil where the researchers need to plant their corn so that we may coexist with them.
We hope our collective decision and action will be seen as measure of good faith toward the scientists. We ask UC administrators to allow us until 10am on Monday, May 14, before moving in with their tractors to till the land for the scientists. We need some time to wake up, stretch our legs, get our blood flowing (it's cold at night!), and do a final run-through to make sure the plot is clean and tidy.
As for the encampment, we never considered it permanent nor central to our long-term objective. An encampment on the Class I soil is not required to grow food in an ecologically-sound and socially-just way. 
Having said that, in no way should our actions be interpreted as an abandonment of our resolve and effort toward building and maintaining an urban agriculture farm on this land. On the contrary. We had a great three week anniversary and Mother's Day celebration this weekend. We have been humbled and energized by the local, national, and international support for agroecology, food sovereignty, and Occupy the Farm. Until the gates are open to the public from sunup to sundown seven days a week, we plan to maintain a constant presence outside the gates of the Gill Tract to ensure our crops are safe and healthy and so that we may continue facilitating open dialogue about the future of the Gill Tract.

*Current UC Berkeley scientists conducting research on the plot of Class I agricultural soil include:
Miguel Altieri, professor of agroecology, dept of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
Sarah Hake, adjunct professor, dept of Plant & Microbial Biology; center director, USDA Plant Gene Expression Center
, adjunct associate professor, dept of Plant & Microbial Biology
Steven Lindow, professor, dept of Plant & Microbial Biology
, associate research professional, dept of Plant & Microbial Biology


Website: www.OccupytheFarm.org
Twitter: @OccupyFarm and #OccupytheFarm  
Facebook: Occupy the Farm
Email: GillTractFarm@riseup.net

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for an update when we publish future stories on this topic. Read more on Albany Patch about the Gill Tract occupation.

lindy May 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Is the guy still in the tree?
concerned educator May 15, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Ulan wrote"We have always been, and we shall remain, focused on farming. This disputed land is a valuable community resource. UC must discuss all development plans with the citizens of Albany. That is all we have ever asked for. Maybe now they will follow the law." where were you when people spent 6 months planning this. what about volunteering for environmental ed, the Terwilliger Foundation, the Edible School Yard, or raising money for rain barrels? The Little Red Hen should not have to clean up after the "the lazy dog, the sleepy cat, The noisy yellow duck" . I have spent 30 plus years putting my money where my mouth is and working to show constructive alternatives within the law. Go Home!
nb May 15, 2012 at 01:46 AM
After reading literally hundreds of comments here, I feel sickened. One or two points about an opposition to this movement have turned into a self-righteous fanaticism that reminds of a stoning Middle Ages crowd that will stop at nothing to proclaim their victory over disobedience. Frankly, I would be embarrassed to send my child to a school system that supposedly prides itself on education-- where a group of well-meaning people like yourselves ritualize with abandonment your distaste and loathing. Your hundreds of comments/responses validating censorship, racism, sexism, and violence leave a trail of evidence that is reminiscent of the John Birch clan, apparently alive and well in the City of Albany, and worse yet, commentary worthy of Rush Limbaughesque, right wing extremists, and hate groups (see southern poverty law center hate map for references). I sincerely wanted to get your message. I got it, in disbelief. Signed, a law-abiding, tax-paying grown-up with a day job, a night-job, and an education.
Dover May 15, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Ten points for including both the Middle Ages, the John Birch Society and Rush Limbaugh in one single snit. Impressive. I admit to a bit of disappointment that you didn't include a Nazi reference though. Maybe next time?
Kirsten Schwartz May 15, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Dover, we got a Nazi reference from Arewn, remember? nb: as in the Latin "nota bene," perhaps, for "note well"? To show your education. I'm really tired of people not from Albany (or you would have self-identified) not using their own names; the only threat to people using their own names has come from an out-of-towner Occupier supporter. Maybe you're afraid of her. But I don't get whether you support the Occupiers or not. Unclear, as I write on my students' papers. Or it this a joke? Surely, more than the "snit" Dover characterizes.


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