‘Occupy The Farm’ tells tale of local food activism

A newly released film, Occupy The Farm, tells the story of the occupation by activists of a piece of UC Berkeley-owned land in Albany, which began in April 2012 and continued on and off for nearly a year.

The protesters planted carrot, broccoli and corn seedlings on the 77-acre Gill Tract and questioned the stewardship of what they described as publicly owned urban farmland. UC Berkeley sent in police and issued a lawsuit before the activists eventually left.

In the meantime, a plan by Whole Foods to open a new store adjacent to the lot was dropped. The grocery chain found a site in Berkeley instead.

And for some, the fight is not over. A group of Cal students met with UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks just last week to present an alternative “community food initiative” plan to approved commercial development of 5-6 acres of the Gill Tract.


Read Berkeleyside’s extensive coverage of Occupy the Farm

Todd Darling, who has worked as a director and editor for MTV, directed Occupy The Farm, which is screening around the country, including at the UA Berkeley through Nov. 20.

The movie has had some good reviews since it opened this month. Michael Rechtshaffen described it as “empowering food for thought” in the Los Angeles Times, and, in the Village Voice, Ernest Hardy said, “The film is riveting from the start.”

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