Press Contacts:
Lesley Haddock – (707)293-3253 – lesley.lives@gmail.com
Matthew McHale – 562-754-8756 – matthewmchale@outlook.com

Occupy the Farm is very excited about the premiere of the Occupy the Farm film, opening this Friday at the UA7 cinema in Berkeley. The film depicts the vibrancy of the community that occupied the Gill Tract in 2012, creating an agricultural hub and challenging the University of California’s commercial development plan.

“This film documents the beginning of a new phase of struggle for public access to the Gill Tract,” said Lesley Haddock, an organizer with Occupy the Farm. “We hope that this premiere will inspire more people in our community to join the effort to stop this development, and for others to take action in their own neighborhoods to reclaim land for public benefit.”

It has been two-and-a-half years since farmers and community members, frustrated by decades of unproductive negotiations with the University around preserving this land first flooded onto the Gill Tract to break ground on a public urban farm, which produced several tons of organic vegetables that were distributed for free around the East Bay.

After repeated occupations of the land, each violently evicted by police, the College of Natural Resources has started a community-oriented farm project on part of the north field of the Gill Tract, but has remained uninvolved in the struggle to protect the south side of the land from development.

The UC Gill Tract Community Farm is open to the public most days a week, and members of Occupy the Farm are active in its daily stewardship and governance, along with other neighbors, students, faculty, and researchers. However, most of the north field is still being used for corn genetics research. The south field remains under the control of Capital Projects, and is in imminent threat of commercial development into a shopping center and high-end senior housing complex.

Occupy the Farm continues to organize against the development, building toward a twenty-acre public farm that can serve as a agroecological research hub that can help to transition us away from the industrial food system that threatens our health and ecosystems and towards smaller-scale, localized farming systems.

We invite you to get involved with organizing, by writing to us at occupyfarm@gmail.com

We will be present for Q&A at many of the screenings throughout the week, particularly the evening showings. Opening night, we invite you to the premiere after-party at the PLACE for Sustainable Living, 1121 64th St, Oakland. The film will be showing at 12 pm, 2:20 pm, 4:50 pm, 7 pm, and 9:30 pm through November 13th.