Vegetables by Occupy the Farm activists on Sunday were given out at two locations: Albany and the West Oakland BART station.
On Sunday, activists cut the lock at the for the third time this summer, for several hours of weeding, watering and harvesting of the crops . Sunday’s picking yielded about a dozen boxes of mostly squash and cucumbers, along with chard, beets and tomatoes.
In Albany, the group gave out the veggies, along with their flier and recipes, at the corner of Marin and San Pablo avenues, approaching motorists at the stoplight, said Navid Shaghaghi, a group member. He said about 40 people—pedestrians and motorists—took the produce, and everything was given away. Some people didn’t want anything or wouldn’t roll down their windows, he said. But, he said, “The pedestrians liked it a lot. One of the neighbors gave us some extra bags. It was a good atmosphere.”
The other half of the day’s harvest was taken to the entrance of the West Oakland BART station, in a neighborhood Shaghaghi described as a “food desert” for its lack of grocery stores.
“People were very receptive and interested,” said Krystof Lopaur, who was with that group. (Lopauer has identified himself in the past as .)
Shaghaghi said the idea behind the two locations was to split the distribution between a very local site and a site where people are needy. He said that, after the group’s , activists knocked on doors in UC Village, offering produce to the residents. They also took produce to West Oakland BART that time.
In addition, members of the East Bay Food Not Bombs group took a small amount of Sunday’s produce to use. Food Not Bombs cooks meals for the needy; they serve weekdays at Berkeley’s People’s Park and on Sundays in downtown Oakland.
The activists said they were not familiar with either the or the Berkeley Food Pantry on Sacramento Street.
Group members said they plan to return to the Gill Tract over the next few months to harvest. Tomatoes are next, pumpkins will ripen in the fall. They did not provide a date for their next harvest.
Group members said they would like to keep using the Gill Tract after this growing season is over.
“Hopefully we’ll be replacing all that (the current crops) with winter crops at some point,” said Lopaur.
UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said he had not heard about future plans for planting.
Mogulof also said that, during the three harvests this summer, there were no incidents, no arrests and, “most importantly,” no damage to the . Researchers Damon Lisch and Sarah Hake of the USDA have said are doing well.
No collaboration with UC
Asked if the university and activists had met to discuss urban farming at the Gill Tract, Lopaur said not as far as he knew, adding, “We don’t think they appreciate our position.”
On that topic Mogulof said, “From the very beginning they (the activists) rejected , in favor of their own unilateral actions. They’ve remained consistently obstinate.”
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