When we lived in Albany, this area was used by the University to test scary new varieties of corn. Some people claim to have seen plants grow from seedlings to six-foot sheaves overnight. Others say that, if you walked past in the dead of night, the vegetables would watch you pass and whisper amongst themselves. Either way, we didn't ask too many questions about what was happening there, and when it was announced that a Whole Foods store would soon be opening on the site there was much rejoicing.
But not from everyone! A few days ago a group of radical gardeners broke the locks, wandered in with their tents, equipment, seeds and scarecrows, and set up shop. They've been hard at work ever since, clearing whatever was growing there at the moment (nothing sinister, it seems, just weeds), laying out neat cultivated rows, and engaging the local media to spread their message of "a future of food sovereignty, in which our East Bay communities make use of available land - occupying it where necessary - for sustainable agriculture to meet local needs". www.takebackthetract.com is their website.
I decided to take a look but, being a little fearful, enlisted Anat and Arbel to protect me. The plan worked, with Arbel charming everyone while I snuck photos. Well, it wasn't really that dramatic. They seem to want anyone to come and help them till the soil. The University has cut off their water supply, which is unfortunate. Perhaps they'll go for a cactus garden.
Anyway, everyone involved seems to be in a jolly mood at the moment, at least until the police and pepper spray turn up. Uni Village hasn't seen this much excitement since that time we played Risk at Vince and Christine's games night, and this gathering is far less likely to descend into violence. We'd been talking about going camping for the weekend but Hannah doesn't think that this is the right site for us...
Back when we lived here, all this was just fields.
The occupiers' manifesto.
Agriculture in Albany.
The sign claims that this is the children's play area.
Arbel and I are ready to work the land!
There's livestock here as well.
And a scarecrow.
Yep, this is where we used to live.
Here are the current plans, weather and law enforcement providing.
And here's a photo of Arbel, because he is SO cute.
Ok, here's another cute photo of him too...