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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.

Notes
*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.

Kirsten Schwartz May 14, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I just assumed UC was barring the researchers from entering because of liability issues. As is appropriate in such situations. The sooner the Occupiers leave the place entirely, the sooner the liability issues disappear and the researchers can get to work. ("Liability issues" is a phrase that has come up in two of the UC documents posted on the Patch that I have seen, as far as I can remember.) Damon or Sarah Hake--any reality check from you?
Jennifer Carlson May 14, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Oh good. So now you are the city of Albany's problem? Wonderful. The budget for the police required to keep people from being distracted by your antics as they drive by this centrally located position? That will come from what, our school budget? Our emergency services budget? A new tax on the current citizens of Albany? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Hey, I learned that at UC Berkeley!)
Dover May 14, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Five people detained. I hope their mommies can make bail.
Dover May 14, 2012 at 02:21 PM
"An NBC Bay Area helicopter flew over the scene about 6:45 a.m., showing a row of police lined up in formation, poised to act if necessary." http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/-Police-Move-on-Occupy-the-Farm---Again-151367405.html
Dover May 14, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Video of several of the arrested trespassers on Channel 2 just now. They appear to be the creme de la cranky creme of trespasser society. "That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more: it is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." W.S. The Glenn Dyer Jail can provide a very rude awakening for pampered special snowflakes.
Dover May 14, 2012 at 02:51 PM
LOL! They never miss an opportunity for attention.
Dover May 14, 2012 at 02:59 PM
"Arriving officers encountered less than 10 Occupy the Farm protesters on the field, most who [sic] were still sleeping." http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/crime-law/riot-geared-police-arrest-occupy-farm-protesters/nN5Xj/ Real farmers would be awake long before 6:15 am. Then again, real farmers don't party until the wee hours.
Dover May 14, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Just heard one of the trespassers has climbed a tree. Let's hope the cops brought some chain saws.
Kirsten Schwartz May 14, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Amen, Dover; up in the column itself, this made me aware they were only "playing" farmer: "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!)"--Real Farmers Get Up Early. (If you're cold, getting up and moving around warms you up real good.) Add that to Real Farmers Consider Water Source Before Invading.
Dover May 14, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Hey! I just saw Ulan on Channel 2. He looks like he just rolled out of bed. I guess that means he wasn't there when the arrests were going down. Whew!
Dover May 14, 2012 at 03:56 PM
"City of Albany has a dump truck that is collecting trash." Let's hope and pray that our maintenance workers are taking care not to get stuck with any needles.
Michael Barnes May 14, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Bummer.
Dover May 14, 2012 at 05:27 PM
It's a good thing he wasn't there on time. It's really hard to run from the cops in Crocs.
don May 14, 2012 at 06:32 PM
LEAVE OUR CITY OUT OF THIS DO YOUR COMPLAINTS TO UC AND THATS IN BERK WHO OWNS THE LAND AND NOW ALBANY HAS THE GRIEF DON
Paul O'Curry May 14, 2012 at 06:34 PM
The Mexican corn problem is simple. US agribusiness is subsidised when growing the corn and again when it is exported. They are DRIVING small Mexican farmers out of business. The corn on the Gill Tract is INEDIBLE.
Paul O'Curry May 14, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Maybe its time for Dover to quit the personal attacks !! Maybe you could be the one to bring needles to sharpen your attacks .
Kirsten Schwartz May 14, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Oh, I'm just starting to get used to Dover. Just avoid reading his comments. That's what I had to do with Ulan's posts.
Ulan McKnight May 14, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I believe 9 people have been arrested. 2 went inside to water the plants as a symbolic protest. 7 we arrested outside the farm while trying to clear out equipment. None have resisted arrest.  Albany police have acted with courtesy and respect. That have a difficult job and are handling it with grace.  The UC police showed up in force and put on a big show. Thet even brought up a squad from LA that are specially trained in riot control. I guess they thought we would become violent.  I agree with Bea, everything is calm. At 11:30 when I left there were still over 100 police in full riot gear walking around showing their guns and mace.  A number of children and teachers at Ocean View could not stop looking at them. I tried to speak with a few and assured them that nothing bad was going to happen. Some of the kids seemed genuinely freaked out. The helicopter overhead certainly did not help.  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.
Dover May 14, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Where do you see an "attack," Paul?
Dover May 14, 2012 at 07:02 PM
"Some of the kids seemed genuinely freaked out." And this is on YOUR head, Ulan. Wear it proudly!
J May 14, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Paul the corn on Gill Tract would not very very tasty (it's more closely related to the sort of corn used to make tortilla or corn brean, not sweet corn or popcorn), and the geneticists need the seeds for their next generation of experiments the following year. But the corn is most certainly is EDIBLE.
don May 14, 2012 at 07:16 PM
THATS GOOD ALL WE NEEDED MORE WACKOS JUST A NICE QUIET TOWN ( WAS)DON G
Dover May 14, 2012 at 07:19 PM
"I believe 9 people have been arrested. 2 went inside to water the plants as a symbolic protest." I love inadvertent admissions of truth.
Kayko May 14, 2012 at 07:22 PM
As an Oceanview parent and village resident, I kept an eye on the situation. The helicopters were gone by the time the kids arrived. And regarding the police in riot gear, my kids still trust the police, and aren't afraid of them. They did see not it as a cause for alarm, and neither did I. I see it as a learning experience for children: break the law and the police will come. I don't see this as a bad thing. (For God's sake, won't somebody think of the children?!?)
Kirsten Schwartz May 14, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Yeah, Paul? Be More Specific.
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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