Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Occupy The Farm -- An Update

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After I read Wendy's blog comment, about how the protesters were trying to save a parcel of land that was, in fact, not slated for development, I did some research. 

It wasn't difficult to lay my hands on the plans for the development of this land.  A co-worker (who lives near all of this activity) shared the planning document with me.  I also found the plans online.  Heck, I had already learned most of the details from the owner of the local paint store, who knew the details well, because there has been ample community involvement in the planning of this project.

 If you look at the above image, you'll see two yellow rectangles, which indicate where a grocery store and housing for the elderly will be built.  These two projects are being built on a site that previously housed pre-WWII barrack-style tract housing.   To get a sense of scale, look to the left of the lower yellow rectangle, and you'll see two baseball diamonds.

At the opposite corner of this image, you'll see a sort of "shark-fin" shape, at the intersection of Jackson Street and Marin Avenue.  That's a about a block or two away from where the building is taking place, and where I had my run-in with the bush-whacking activist.

Here's another view of the property, known as the Gill Tract.  The housing and retail face San Pablo Avenue, a busy city street.  Beyond that, past a tree-lined stream is the field that is being occupied.

This field is not slated for development.  It is somewhat unclear if the land will continue to be farmland, or if it will be used for recreation and what's called "open space."  The land is not zoned for building anything at all.




Despite all this, there are a band of activists who have set out to "save" this particular bit of land.  They've torn out the cover crops and are squatting on the land, roto-tilling the soil, and planting trucked-in vegetable plants.

If the occupiers weren't there, planting for this season's research crops would be starting soon.  Goodness only knows what the scientists who are scheduled to work on this plot of land are thinking at this moment.



I do believe in many of the goals of the occupy movement.  There has been too much greed and corruption in the banking system in America, recently.  Money has been buying too much influence in our government.  There is too much inequality in our society.  Things are messed up, and citizens need to express their criticisms of the current situation.

Likewise, I believe in the sustainable agriculture movement.  I think the food systems in America are deeply flawed. 



 But ultimately, I believe that we have to pick our battles.  In the grand scheme of things, I fail to see how planting random crops on land that's used for agricultural research is going to solve the problems facing our nation.

Frankly I don't I find anything wrong with building a grocery store or providing housing for senior citizens.  These are both good use of land that had once been the site of crumbling old apartments, and is now used by homeless people as a campground and latrine.

What on earth are these activists thinking?  What are they after?

I just don't get it.

6 comments:

tiggermama said...

they are after what all "angry young people" are after: notoriety, fame and a place to be angry. it doesn't really matter if they are "doing good" while they're doing it or not - although that helps. *shrug* mostly what they really want is a chance to be angry righteously. And dramatically. And DO Something. Working IN the system takes too much time - or so they think, and it produces too few results. We live in a crazy world.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I think there's plenty to be angry about, in today's economic and political world. The whole money-buys-influence, every-man-for-himself attitude which rewards the rich, and screws everyone else is deplorable, and SHOULD be protested.

But as my friend Lynn Eve put it, these folks seem to be barking up the wrong tree.

Anonymous said...

Hi Again.... Personally, I feel sad for the displaced deer, geese and turkeys that also use the area as their habitat. There were nesting turkeys there and Occupy confirmed they found the nests. One turkey was trying to stay with the nest, but eggs in another had been abandoned. Sad in MHO. I miss seeing our wonderful wildlife that have always been in the field and most are either hiding or are gone.

Wendy

Anonymous said...

And are those gas-powered rototillers? Sheesh.
-Donna

Anonymous said...

And are those gas-powered rototillers? Sheesh.
-Donna

Jaxx said...

Billy Joel said it all:


There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl
and he's always at home with his back to the wall.
He's proud of the scars and the battles he's lost
He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.


Give a moment or two to the angry young man
With his foot in his mouth and his heart in his hand
He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood
It's a comfort to know his intentions are good
He sits in a room with a lock on the door
with his maps and his medals laid out of the floor
And he likes to be known as the angry young man.


I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage,
I've found that just surviving was a noble fight
[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/angry-young-man-lyrics-billy-joel.html ]

I once believed in causes too, had my pointless point of view
Life went on no matter who was wrong or right.


And there's always a place for the angry young man
With his fist in the air and his head in the sand
He's never been able to learn from mistakes
He can't understand why his heart always breaks
His honor is pure, and his courage as well
he's fair and he's true, and he's boring as hell
And he'll go to his grave as an angry old man.


There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl
and he's always at home with his back to the wall.
He's proud of the scars and the battles he's lost
He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on the cross
And he likes to be known as the angry young man

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