Via SF Gate
Occupiers are still holding land in Albany used by the University of California at Berkeley for agricultural research. The university had actually given them a weekend deadline to agree to a “negotiated departure” where the University would agree to sit down with them and arrange for part of the occupied land to be devoted to urban farming.
In light of Occupiers missing the deadline, University officials said they would consider more forceful measures against the group, Occupy the Farm. “”We’re very disappointed,” said Dan Mogulof, the UC Berkeley spokesman. “Unfortunately, because time is short, we need to begin to assess other options.”
Representatives of the Occupy group said that they intended to respond to the offer on Monday. The group has held the land since breaking the lock to the gate and entering the land on April 22. They have tilled and planted carrot, broccoli and corn seedlings.
The university wants the land vacated by mid-May in order for certain agricultural research studies to be conducted. The university claims that Occupy has already destroyed agricultural research by faculty scientists and students in the College of Natural Resources.
At one point, Mogulof said, the squatters pruned some fruit trees on the property and explained to the dean of resources that they had to do it because the trees were diseased. Turns out the pruned branches were part of a research project on how diseases affect fruit trees, he said.
Months or years of work/research and possibly someone’s degree work irreparably injured.
“We have stated publicly and made clear to the occupiers that research and a tent city cannot co-exist,” Mogulof said. “The offer on the table is that if they voluntarily and peacefully end the encampment, we are open to discussing with them and the community ways in which we can peacefully share the property. Our researchers do not need all of the acreage there in the current growing season, so therefore there remains the possibility that we can share it – some land for research and some to urban farming. But we won’t do it under duress.”