On April 22, 2012, a text went out: 200 urban farmers were marching up San Pablo Blvd. to the last, large piece of pristine farmland left in the urban East Bay, a fenced-off parcel known as the Gill Tract. The marchers wanted that land preserved for farming. The owners of these 14-acres, the University of California, Berkeley, planned to replace this agricultural research station with a Whole Foods shopping mall, condos and sports fields.
Occupy the Farm, a feature documentary, follows the story of how a 14-acre piece of land sparked a heated battle. University opposition. Community involvement. Irate genetic researchers. Threats. Legal Action. PR war. Fight for water access. Secret meetings. Rallies. We were there with our cameras to document it all and to record a unique form of direct action.
The farmers and the neighbors didn’t just walk onto the Gill Tract to “protest”; they arrived ready to create a completely different vision of the land’s best use. As one of the young organizers described it, “This is Occupy 2.0.” , what starts as a joyful flurry of hard work and commitment, at the end of three weeks, becomes a very different scene. Barricades. Frenzied Media. Riot Police.
The young urban farmers of Occupy the Farm challenged the plans of both real estate developers and genetic engineers on one piece of publicly owned land. The farmers raised big questions: Will the last piece of pristine farmland in the urban East Bay become a shopping mall, condos and baseball diamonds? Will it grow inedible corn for genetic experiments in hopes of yielding patents that the University of California, Berkeley can sell to private corporations? Or, will this land become a research and teaching center for sustainable urban agriculture?
The documentary Occupy the Farm is now in post-production. We hope to release the film in 2013. We are working hard to reach that goal and share this incredible story with the world... but we need your help.
Please click on our "Donate" tab to help us complete our film. As a truly independent production, we rely on people like you to make this project a reality. Please donate today, and once you do, please share this with your friends and family to help us spread the word.