ALBANY -- Urban farming activists and faculty of the University of California's College of Natural Resources collaborated on a daylong program Sunday on the Gill Tract property.

The community event was a sign that the parties, which have at times been at odds over the past year, could work together.

Workshops were held on making kimchee; encouraging pollinator habitat and conservation in home gardens; making "seed babies" out of seeds, clay and soil; soil sampling; urban agriculture and other subjects. An area was set aside where children could dig for worms and other critters.

Other programs aimed at children included a walking tour of the land, with kids encouraged to draw pictures of the plants; apple bobbing; hands-on planting and harvesting of crops; and craft projects that included using flower dyes to color fabric and yarn, and stamping paper with hand-cut vegetable stamps.

Lunch was served using vegetables grown on the Gill Tract. A community forum was also held to discuss the future of the land.

Participating in the program were Glenda Humiston of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dean of the College of Natural Resources Keith Gilles, urban farming activist Daniel Cardozo and UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management professor Miguel Altieri.


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Activists have been protesting a nearby development, claiming that the Gill Tract land will soon be developed as well. Several times over the past two years, protesters have broken into the land to "occupy" it and plant crops.

The university uses the land for agricultural research. Protesters were forcibly removed from the land by UC police multiple times and a fence around the land has been erected.

Altieri and some other UC faculty have been supportive of the activists. However, Gilles and many other UC officials had complained that the protesters were interfering with the work of the College of Natural Resources. The Sunday event was the result of efforts to find common ground between the protesters and the college.