Three farm defenders have been arrested for halting construction on the Gill Tract Farm in Albany, CA. This is the second action in the last two weeks meant to stop the destruction of this vital part of the living community. In all, five individuals sat in silent meditation in the path of heavy machinery that was removing the topsoil.
Despite obvious risks to the safety of those on site, contractors attempted to operate heavy machinery around them. One farm defender was cited for trespassing and released. Two others were taken in custody by the UC Police Department and sent to Berkeley City Jail and have since been released.
The meditators released a statement that included their reasons for taking taking a stand:
“Among the many reasons the Gill Tract must be protected are:
1: Free-breathing wild or lovingly cultivated land sequesters carbon, the main cause of pollution and climate change.
2: The careful communal cultivation of the land would be a source of locally grown organic food to feed the people without houses and destitute of our community.
3: The land is the home for deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, hawks, owls and other wildlife whose habitat urban construction has greatly damaged and reduced.
4: The land would provide the much-needed commons amidst the concrete hardness of the city in which community would be built in shared work and recreation; where families and children could learn to love and tend the land; where they could observe and learn of our fellow creatures, the four-legged and the winged, and other forms of life, insects and plants.”
Occupy the Farm vows to continue disrupting construction until the UC and its corporate partners cancel construction projects on the land. Delay and disruption tactics increase costs for the developer and have effectively caused several other socially and environmentally contested projects to be cancelled in the past.
UPDATE February 8th, 10:00pm
All meditators have been released and 3 have received a court date for their charges. Please plan to show your support by being at the courthouse and making it known that the land belongs to the people and that these brave defenders were acting out of necessity. Please visit the following links for time and date details:
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