UC Berkeley officials are asking members of the Occupy the Farm movement, the spiritual offspring of the Occupy Wall Street movement, to voluntarily leave a 10-acre tract of land owned by the university.
The occupation was sparked by university plans to transform the land and begin commercial and residential development on it. Initially zoned for agricultural research, protestors were upset at the idea of potentially valuable farmland being transformed into suburban developments.
The protestors set up a series of camps in the area and planted small fruit and vegetable gardens. The land, they believe, should be used to promote sustainable agriculture and address local hunger concerns. In addition, protestors were upset at the university’s supposed lack of communication with local community leaders.
The university, however, claims that it has been engaged in dialogue with community leaders for the past several years and resents the occupiers’ abrogation of property rights.
In an attempt to peacefully end the protest, university leaders sent a letter to the occupiers yesterday, asking them to withdraw from the land. In exchange, the university offered them a commitment to continue urban farming on the developed farmland. The protestors replied that they would take the message to their general meeting, but that only an agreement by 100 percent of the group would win approval.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer