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Occupy the Farm Agrees to Remove Encampment, Won't Cede Control

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for an alert about new items on this topic. See all the Gill Tract stories on Albany Patch at http://patch.com/bvbHo. This following post resulted from a conversation with Gopal Dayaneni today.

[Editor's Note: Gopal Dayaneni of Occupy the Farm shared these statements, during a phone conversation with us, just before 11 a.m. Albany Patch is heading into the meeting hosted by the university about the at the Gill Tract, and will provide more information afterward.] 

We are removing the encampments. We don't need the encampment to assert the right and responsibility to tend the crops. We don't need to camp here .... We're leaving all the things that are appropriate to farming.

We've been discussing it over the last day or so. We made that decision this morning. We're now executing it.

We're still doing our events today. We're creating access points. We're building a slide for kids to get in. We continue to assert the fact that we did on Day One: that the fence is not the issue.

People have invested, and they have the right to continue to farm here. We feel like we have a lot of support for the farm. The camp was a tactic to serve the farm. At this time we don't think we need it. So we're moving it. If we decide we need it in the future, we will bring it back.

The most important thing is that people have access to the crops, and that people can come and go. 

We're not ceding control or supervision. We're continuing to farm the farm. We're continuing to ask everyone to come and join us. We've committed to the researchers that we can coexist.... We created the space necessary for researchers to farm their crops.

The university is really the barrier here. They should keep the gates open and let people come and go. 

So long as we're under threat by lawsuit and arrest, we're not willing to trust them with our crops.

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 13, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I like the idea, Jon. But I and my neighbors are currently trying to get a speed hump for our block, and thus have an immediate sense of how little money there is in City coffers (we will have to wait, or will have to contribute ourselves, for this long-desired traffic calming). Who will pay?
Brian Parsley May 13, 2012 at 03:22 PM
We could call it Voices to Vision 3, the return of fern, in imax 3-D. Lets spend more money we don't have, to discuss property we don't own, for a outcome that no one will like.
Peggy McQuaid May 13, 2012 at 03:37 PM
I would like to know how much this is costing the city in both direct cost and staff time. What is not being done due to money being spent on this or staff not able to complete their normal work load?
Neo Serafimidis May 13, 2012 at 03:41 PM
@Ulan Where you at every (any) discussion involving UC and Little League? For all we know, keeping the ball fields where they are WAS raised as a proposal or counterproposal, or otherwise discussed. Besides, obviously, a land owner who wants to do something with their land will propose the options that they want to do with their land. It is not incumbent upon them to propose something that they don't want to do. duh. My calling it your pet proposal is my pet rhetorical way of emphasizing that there are an infinite number of possible proposals and variations, and someone treating one's own preferred option as so sacred as to call its lack of consideration a procedural foul is nonsense.
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 04:09 PM
@james Schnable. They are NOT funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture. Read the following: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-holt-gimenez/occupy-the-farm-democracy_1_b_1494968.html and this report: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/public-research-private-gain/. Scroll down and you can read the full report. It is a PDF file.
Jackie Hermes-Fletcher May 13, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Kirsten, How can UC "offer a remarkable education as a public service" when only students who can afford to pay up to $35,000 per year benefit from this "public service". We know that the majority of young people from California are unable to attend UCB, so the school is recruiting students outside CA who can pay for this. It seems unfair that citizens living in California who pay taxes throughout their children's lives, can't support their kids education at UC. How can this be public education? So the system needs changed on many levels; giving people access to their rights as human beings. Growing food on "public land" and attending the state's "public" colleges count.
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Schnable: I re-iterate. What a bunch of crap! Talk about rhetoric. Who was suppose to benefit from the land? The public. Not the researchers or the corporate interests they represent. Why should American taxpayers pay taxes or for tuition if they cannot afford to send their own children to get an education in their own schools? Berkeley has grown exponentially with foreign students who pay out of state tuition while parents in California cannot afford to send their own children there. Do not tell me how Berkeley has increased financial aid for middle class families when the students are burdened with astronomical debt and the students cannot get a job? What crap!! Education should be free for all Americans. Rather than paying off the chart salaries to the Chancellor and administrative staff, put that money into education. Get rid of corporate profits. Let's build a better world as opposed to world of haves and have nots. Lets have housing, food, quality education and a good quality of life for all!
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I think they are trying to keep their plants alive and they use the water when they get it. Give it a break!
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Well Kirsten, thank you for voicing your concern. Unfortunately there are a whole lot of people who disagree with you. :)
J May 13, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Hi Arwen, Your first link, from the Huffington Post mentions the past, expired, Novartis deal which we have already discussed to death, but does not contain any mention of current corporate funding for the researchers whose work is conducted at Gill Tract. I had already read the food and water watch report. I agree it describes a worrying nationwide trend of reduced public support for research, with the hole being filled by corporate support. But point me to the place where it says a corporation is providing funding for maize genetics research at UC-Berkeley because I don't see it. The two UC professors mentioned in the report are Drs Gilbertson and Keen, both work at Davis and neither studies maize. Meanwhile simply visiting the website of Berkeley's Department of Plant and Microbial Biology ( http://cnr.berkeley.edu/site/plant_micro_bio.php ) shows that the department has "42 active grants from the NIH, USDA, and NSF." Less public funding for research isn't the same as none at all.
Kirsten Schwartz May 13, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Arwen, thanks for spelling my name correctly. No one in Albany takes you seriously because you are hiding. As my husband remarked last night (and I actually remember seeing this when it first came out), "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Easy to criticize and lay claim to titles when you are hiding behind a fictional creation. Either reveal yourself or leave.
Ross Stapleton-Gray May 13, 2012 at 04:46 PM
There are aspects of this that remind me of the Children's Crusade. And we all recall (or can pull up in Wikipedia) how that fared.
Kirsten Schwartz May 13, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Mary Ann Uribe, aka Arwen, you miss the point. I am not in support of the farm. I'm just making a record of it.
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Kirsten: Thank you for your inept legal. analysis. Wrong on the law AGAIN!
J May 13, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Arwen you still haven't answered my questions from the first time you iterated this comment. It seems you are also confusing me with other commenters since I have been solely discussing research and haven't said anything about financial aid or tuition since I don't see how that discussion is relevant to whether it is ok to take away, by force, this land that was people's means of livelihood. I'm done. I have to get to work.
Kirsten Schwartz May 13, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Jackie, what are you doing responding to a comment I made under a different heading? I couldn't find this. You need to do a "reply" to the comment I made wherein I said what you say I said. But it is something I believe. I started at UCSC in 1985, when fees were about $2,000/year. I was a student there, undergrad and grad, until 1988, when fees were a little higher. (They can't charge for tuition under the CA constitution, so they raise "fees".) I started grad school at UCB in 1990, didn't finish until 1999 (that pesky single-mother thing, plus my dissertation director dying of brain cancer, poor dear great man). I have taught undergrads there almost continuously since 1992, first as a GSI and then as a lecturer and instructor. I used to think students got shafted in their education at Cal, and then began to learn what had happened to the excellence of my alma mater, UCSC. The classes are too big. Do you know how big? A normal class is hundreds of students; one class in MCB is 1500 at a time (2 auditoriums). And yet, for the canny student, there is STILL a great education available there. Professors really want to talk to them, for the most part. Of course, I'm going on evidence provided by Actual Students (as they go through UCB and stay in touch with me). The canny student can get a great education. Out of state fees should be higher--see next comment box.
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 04:56 PM
@James Schnabel: At some point you wrote: "Arwen you still haven't answered my questions from the first time you iterated this comment.". I do not know what questions you refer to. This board is rather unwieldy with comments all over the place.
Kirsten Schwartz May 13, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Out-of-state fees SHOULD be higher; Californians pay into UC for years. Ohio students' families do not. And as someone else has posted, many students do not have to pay anything--fees or housing and food--if they come from a family that is below a certain economic (and very fair) line. I know many of them. As I posted before, in 1994 I visited U.Mich at Ann Arbor, another great school; at that time, tuition was $10,000+ for Michigan residents. We've had it good in California, and I am certainly grateful for that, and I want it back for the next generation of students--but it's nothing to take for granted as a right. My son goes to a private college (not MY idea); while I helped him with loans in the first year, since then he has been racking up the loans himself. One unit = $750. That means a 13-unit semester, twice a year (the basic Cal load) costs 19,500.00. (He gets some grant money, too, I'm remembering, but not much.) And that's a cheap private school. So no, Cal gives a great education for something comparatively reasonable. I'd like it to be cheaper, but first we have to re-tool that instrument of the devil, Proposition 13. And in the meantime, UC does a pretty good job. I don't have tenure (or even benefits!) so I'm not supporting UC because I have to.
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Kirsten: You should refrain from such sweeping statement such as " No one in Albany...." because you obviously do not speak or represent every person in Albany. You can speak for yourself. You can say you disagree with me. But to make a statement indicating you somehow represent every person in all Albany is ludicrous and defies logic. Referring to what your husband said does not improve the situation. And Kirsten you are not one to make demands. You leave if that is your wish. Had a bad cup of coffee this morning. Happy Mother's Day!
Madisonian May 13, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Arwen, it's a fact. E.g., driving by the apparent OTF headquarters on San Pablo this morning, saw several young dudes passing a pot pipe. Similar to what I've seen on several other occasions. I don't care about marijuana use by adults in the privacy of their homes, but such activity in public is typically (rightly) considered a nuisance.
Arwen May 13, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Kirsten...Have a Happy Mother's Day!
Madisonian May 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM
To bring this back the central issue: Gopal, trespassing is the exact opposite of having a "right." And agreed that there is a stunning amount of arrogance behind statements about "creating" space for researchers, and bringing back the camp "if necessary." As someone who can see the occupation from my front door, I do appreciate that the tents have come down -- though unfortunately the new shantytown on San Pablo isn't any better. I do hope the UC follows through on its promises to pursue swift legal action to stop this unilateral land grab.
DALE GREENE May 13, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Arwen? Who? Dale Greene
Kirsten Schwartz May 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Jackie: Arwen wrote a piece in which she claimed to have discovered me--when I was posting as Kirsten S. (a monicker left over from joining the Patch two years ago)--and berated me as Kirsten Fisher for spending too much time here on the Patch instead of working. At my request, Emilie removed that post. So the short, easy answer to your question is: she tried to "out" me. Why does she get to do that to me but she doesn't have to do it herself? I keep "bashing" her because she keeps dodging the issue. I'll stop, if it bothers you, and since she has not denied being Mary Ann Uribe, I'll address her as such in future, if such need arises. She also wrote some negative things about Damon Lisch--an Albany resident, which she is not, as well as Gill Tract Researcher and bona fide academic, which she is not (I'm not bashing, I'm clarifying)--and went so far as to make fun of him for making his information available on the web. It bothers me greatly that she can sit back behind her veil in Berkeley and send negative comments into Albany with no real name. It bothers me. That it does not bother you means (1) you haven't been reading this stuff for long, or (2) you have a higher tolerance for childishness. Yes, childishness. Many of us, not all, but many of us in Albany (and more posting to the Patch all the time) are tired of this protest happening here. We just want them gone.
Jon Meyers May 13, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I'm being partly facetious here. My point is that it would be very interesting to know what the majority of Albany residents believe the appropriate tactics should be for engaging UC on the future uses of the Gill Tract. There's a lot of commentary on Patch claiming substantial majority support one way or the other, and that's not decisive. I suppose I could infer from the fact that there don't seem to be many Albany residents flocking down to the Gill Tract to support OTF that support isn't particularly high, but that's still somewhat open to interpretation. I've also tried to infer the degree of support by postings elsewhere - DailyKos, Twitter, etc., but it seems it's the same relatively small group of people (sometimes using pseudonyms) saying the same things in all those places. So it's hard for me to get a read on how much local support there really is. Thus the thought on a referendum.
Jon Meyers May 13, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I'm left wondering how UC is going to cover all the expense here - the legal team, security, staff time, clean up, etc. Does it add an incremental increase to tuition and/or fees? Do they reduce financial aid or scholarship for a student from a low-income family? Do they cut back on an agricultural research program?
Warren May 14, 2012 at 12:25 AM
We are all always under threat of arrest is we break the laws that we as a society have agreed to live by. Occupiers are breaking the law. The University has been patient in my opinion. I guess they will need to be arrested which will cost us all more civic funds but do they care?
GCrich May 14, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Please answer the question over corporate influence on UCB. You've been raising a ruckus over the perception that UC faculty are currently funded by Novartis, but James has shown that it simply isn't true since a quick scan of their funding sources all list Federal agencies. It may have been true a decade ago, but it isn't true now. You act as if you have evidence to refute this, please explain and show it, and please do not list more links to more 10 year old news stories.
Ellie May 14, 2012 at 12:51 AM
"We know that the majority of young people from California are unable to attend UCB, so the school is recruiting students outside CA who can pay for this." This is a highly misleading statement. Out of state students pay higher tuition because they are subsidizing the numerous grants and financial aid packages which enable low income CA students to attend UC for little to no cost. Tuition (or rather "fees") have gone up, but financial aid for low income families has expanded, not to mention the proposed middle class aid package which will hopefully become reality with the November election (the fate of this is in the voters' hands at this point). "Kirsten, How can UC "offer a remarkable education as a public service" when only students who can afford to pay up to $35,000 per year benefit from this "public service"." That is patently false. Over 50% (forget the exact percentage; you can look it up, if you wish) of UCB students receive financial aid which covers all or part of their fees. (I am currently a full time UCB student who pays NOT A SINGLE PENNY in fees, by the way.)
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