Protestors drawing inspiration from the Occupy Wall Street Movement have taken control of a 10-acre plot of farmland owned by the University of Berkeley’s agricultural research department.
The land in question is part of the university’s College of Natural Resources, which, in part, is committed to agricultural research and development. The college’s pride and joy remains a public open-air laboratory that has helped solidify the reputation of the college and the university.
The current protest revolves around the potential conversion of 10-acres of agricultural land into commercial, recreational, and open space. The Occupy Movement, dubbing its protest Occupy the Farm, want the land to be preserved for the development of sustainable agriculture. Claiming that the university has been unresponsive to community desires, the protestors are planting vegetables on the occupied land and are planning yoga, meditation, and farming workshops.
University officials, however, claim that the protestors are being unreasonable. According to the UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor, the university has been in a five-year long dialogue with community leaders over the status of the land. In addition, they claim that the land in question has not been farmed since World War II. In a statement to the local press, he stated, “We take issue with the protesters’ approach to property rights. By their logic they should be able to seize what they want if, in their minds, they have a better idea of how to use it.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer