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UC Fences Lot That Was Occupied at University Village

UC Berkeley has put a chain-link fence around the empty lot next to University Village in Albany that was occupied for three weekends by Occupy the Farm. The campus proposes to use the property for a Sprouts Farmers Market.

A new fence erected by UC Berkeley around a university lot proposed for a Sprouts Farmers Market next to University Village at San Pablo Avenue and Monroe Street in Albany. Photo Credit: Charles Burress, June 19, 2013
A new fence erected by UC Berkeley around a university lot proposed for a Sprouts Farmers Market next to University Village at San Pablo Avenue and Monroe Street in Albany. Photo Credit: Charles Burress, June 19, 2013
A freshly installed chain-link fence was plainly visible Wednesday around a UC Berkeley lot in Albany that had been occupied by Occupy the Farm urban farming advocates for three weekends last month.

"We're putting up a fence around university property," said campus spokesman said Dan Mogulof.

Defying university trespassing warnings, Occupy the Farm activists first moved onto the lot at San Pablo Avenue and Monroe Street next to University Village student family housing on Saturday, May 11, planted crops and began camping until they were evicted with four arrests by UC police two days later. The protesters resumed their weekend camp for the next weekends, leaving voluntarily on Sunday both times.

UC has proposed using the lot for commercial development, to be anchored by a Sprouts Farmers Market. The plan also calls for senior housing and more retail in another vacant lot on the other side of Monroe from the occupied lot. The Albany City Council in July approved UC-sponsored commercial and senior housing development on the two plots. 

Mogulof said Wednesday that the fence was installed for a variety of reasons, including "asserting and protecting university property rights." The fence also is intended to show that the plot "isn't just a vacant lot but is being developed" and  also to "help deter further incursions onto the land," he said.

"In that sense, maybe the old adage that good fences make good neighbors will be true here, given what the community has expressed," he said.

The university intends to develop two adjacent lots, one on the north side of Monroe where the Sprouts market is planned, and one on the south side of Monroe for senior housing and more commercial development.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, the Sprouts lot, where the occupiers camped last month, had a fence around it, and the lot on the other side of Monroe had newly installed fence poles.

Occupy the Farm staged a three-week occupation and crop-planting a year ago on the Gill Tract agricultural research field, which is near the site occupied the past three weekends. They were evicted by campus authorities.

Ross Stapleton-Gray June 20, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Robert Frost's "Mending Wall:" http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/frost-mending.html "...Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: 'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence. Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down.'..."
David Sanger June 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM
so next step is up to Occupy.....
Nicholas Littlejohn June 20, 2013 at 11:27 PM
THey should at least have a community garden since that's what people are calling for.
Caryl O'Keefe June 21, 2013 at 12:12 AM
this link describes the substantial community gardenat UC Village: http://www.ucvillagegarden.net/index.html
David Sanger June 21, 2013 at 02:14 AM
That really depends on which "the people" you are referring to. The people in Albany by a very wide margin want a grocery store and want to continue with the plan developed over five years. The people in UC Village already have a garden and are not actively opposing the project. But yes there are some people who want a garden instead.
Bernard Knapp June 21, 2013 at 11:04 AM
If Occupy wants a community garden, there is open space in Albany just begging for it and I'm sure the City would let them farm it at least temporarily - there's the Bulb to start, the vacant land next to the freeway, the gigantic parking strip all the way down Key Route, etc, etc.; but we all know that farming is not really the issue, it's putting one in the eye of UC and squashing the UC Village development, and along the way, getting a lot of publicity. Meanwhile, we who live here get the short end of the spade.
Kirsten Schwartz June 21, 2013 at 07:39 PM
In fact, I suspect the land the Occupiers were trying to farm is full of pollutants--especially lead from the paint--so anything actually grown there would be a mistake to eat. This is one of the problems of the Occupiers being, in reality, professional activists, not farmers.
Dover June 21, 2013 at 11:12 PM
The "people" spoke on November 6, 2012, when trespassers/fake farmers/U.I./Albany City Council hopefuls Ulan McKnight and Sheri Spellwoman were soundly defeated. (And yes, I am still smiling about the results. ;-)
don June 22, 2013 at 07:42 PM
its about time.uc done somthing.maybe now they will leave. and again have peace . arrest people who dont belong to our city.we dont want them causing problems here.
don June 22, 2013 at 07:45 PM
dover:yep on that one.all of us 87 people. are also very happy.

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