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‘Occupy The Farm’ Protesters Pack Up, Meet UC Deadline

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Occupy activists outside the gates of Gill Tract in Albany, May 11, 2012. (CBS)

Occupy activists outside the gates of Gill Tract in Albany, May 11, 2012. (CBS)

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ALBANY (KCBS)— Activist farmers in Albany have packed up their encampment on University of California, Berkeley’s Gill Tract to meet the university’s Saturday 10 a.m. deadline. The 10-acre parcel of land, owned by UC, has been occupied by protesters since Earth Day nearly three weeks ago.

Occupy the Farm started planting crops in order to bring attention to the resource- rich land for a community garden and for sustainable urban agriculture.

They are against UC Berkeley’s development plans according to farm supporter Christoph Lepore.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“We believe we can take care of the crops as well from outside the fence as we can from inside the fence,” said Lepore.

UC Police did lock fences around the area earlier this week. Police stood by as protesters moved tents and supplies off the premises.

There were several dozen people gathered outside the fence with a few still lingering inside as the events unfolded.

Lepore said their purpose was not a confrontation.

“We don’t need the encampment. We don’t need tents. We don’t need to sleep on this land in order to protect it anymore. The public is connected to it. The public wants the farm,” Lepore said.

UC Berkeley Spokesman Dan Mogulof said a lawsuit filed against the protesters will be dropped if farmers leave peacefully, but that depends on how they respond to the deadline to vacate.

“We’re going to take the steps that are necessary to honor our commitment to the research. We’ll just have to wait and see how the folks who are currently occupying our property respond.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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