Protesters at the University of California in Berkeley have returned to the university research farm that they had until recently occupied. The protestors came back to harvest the fruits and vegetables that they had planted on the property during the occupy movement.
The protest was initially sparked by UC Berkeley’s announcement that the university was planning to transition the research farm into commercial property. The university and local city council plan to build a Whole Foods Market and a senior citizen’s housing complex on the property.
Protestors, who are loosely affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, claim that the university not only failed to enter into dialogue with local residents, but argue that the land could be better served as an urban farm/community garden. Earlier this spring, protestors occupied the property, planting fruits and vegetables in vacant fields. Demonstrators were removed in a police raid on May 14.
Despite the eviction, protestors have returned to harvest the produce growing on the disputed land. They maintain that they have no plans to permanently occupy the land, but merely wish to harvest their crops and eliminate weeds. Police observed the protestors, but made no move to stop them.
While university officials maintain that their resolve has not weakened, protestors hope that they can rally community support by maintaining an active community garden. They also plan to attend the upcoming city council meeting to oppose the commercialization of the farm in question.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer