Occupy the Farm Returns, Evicted Two Days Later

More than one hundred urban agriculture and sustainable local food activists returned to the embattled University of California “owned” Gill Tract in Albany, CA on Saturday.

Police Evict Occupy the Farm
Police Evict Occupy the Farm

by Matt Gratz
Political Fail Blog
May 14, 2013

Last year, hundreds of activists occupied the space for three weeks before being forcefully evicted by campus and Albany police officers.

Armed with direct-action knowledge, vegetation, pitch forks, shovels, goats, chickens and a bunny, the activists marched from the Albany City Hall about a block down San Pablo st. chanting, “Whose farm? Our farm!” and “Farm land is for farming!”

Once the activists reached their destination, they quickly got to work removing the four foot tall weeds, rototilled the land, and began planting their starts. This year they occupied a plot of land outside the gated area, where officials plan to erect a grocery store and parking lot.

Farmers held the space for two nights before University and Albany police showed up early this morning to force them away. There was at least one arrest in the early hours of the eviction, and three more before noon. The first two arrests I witnessed happened after the police had cleared the plot of land. Two dedicated activists decided they weren’t going to just leave, and hopped through the police tape back onto their farm. One made it to a tractor, which would later be used to destroy the new plants. The third arrest I was present for was a young woman who was standing up against the fence. After being surrounded by officers, she was placed in a head lock by a male officer before being dragged out of sight.

Activists are planning a re-convergence for this evening starting at 5PM. “We didn’t stop the tractor, but they can’t stop us! So rest up & get ready for RE-CONVERGENCE at 5PM at San Pablo and Monroe! Spread the word! Farmland is for farming!” Via Occupy The Farm on Facebook.

UPDATE: As of 6:30pm, at least 80 activists have returned to re-claim the farm! The official twitter account for Occupy Oakland tweeted, “80+ activists in a beautiful moment all linked arms crossed the street & reclaimed #occupythefarm shouting “Whose Farm? Our Farm!”

About the author:

Matt Gratz founded Political Fail Blog in December of 2010. As a human rights activist, Matt has spent years in the bay area fighting for social justice in the streets. Follow PFB to keep up to date with his photos, videos & blogs! Follow me on twitter!