ALBANY -- UC Berkeley on Monday plowed under a field planted by activists, the third time in just over a week the university has taken such an action.

The seeds were planted on Saturday by Occupy the Farm, a group pushing the university to abandon plans to develop the land, located along San Pablo Avenue at Monroe Street.

"I'm disappointed and not 100 percent surprised," Occupy the Farm spokeswoman Lesley Haddock said. "The piece of land that we've been planting on has been vacant for years. When we got there, there were weeds 5 feet high. There's no development happening there right now. There's no reason the UC should need to plow right now.

"They know that if we stay there and keep planting, we're going to turn the land into a community asset. They know we want to use the land for public good."

Protesters first occupied nearby land in April 2012. They remained for three months before university police removed them. The crops they planted remained, and the activists returned several times to tend to them before harvesting them and distributing them.

Dan Mogulof, UC's executive director of public affairs, said the university is responding to a different situation from a year ago. Last year, activists planted land that the university uses for agricultural research.

"Last year, they had an encampment on the property that was remaining there," he said. "We tried to explore every possible avenue that would lead to a voluntary disbanding before we needed to plant and avoid an unnecessary confrontation."

Mogulof added that the removal of the crops was consistent with what UC has been saying all along.

"Our message is the same and our stance is the same that this is university property, and we're not going to let a group come in from the outside and stand in the way of research and circumvent a five-year process," he said.

Haddock said Occupy the Farm planted seeds this weekend rather than the starts (young plants) they did on May 11, hoping the seeds would survive the plowing. She said Occupy will regroup and plan its next action and that the group hasn't given up its vision of using the land for an urban farm.

She emphasized that the group had no plans to actually camp on the land this year.

"There was no occupation," she said. "We were planning to go back every day just to tend and water the crops, but there was no intention to sleep there."

University police evicted about 20 protesters from the land on May 13 and arrested four activists.

The land the activists planted this year is slated to be part of a mixed-use development. Current plans are to have a Sprouts Farmer's Market and senior housing. The Albany Planning and Zoning Commission held a workshop regarding the plans on May 8.

The Albany City Council last July approved the project, which then was to include a Whole Foods Market. However, a pair of lawsuits and a referendum led to Whole Foods Market pulling out of the project. The referendum prompted the City Council to rescind the development agreement.