5/30 Action Alert: Mobilization Against Sprouts this Weekend, and More

Salutations farmrades,

With summer less than a month away, we continue to turn up the heat on Sprouts Farmerless Market. We need all hands on deck for the next action this Saturday, May 30th (see below for more information).

In other news, last week was action-packed! On Thursday, Occupy the Farm activists and community members advocated in defense of the Gill Tract at the UC Regents meeting, and then joined hundreds for the March Against Monsanto over the weekend. Updates on that and more below.
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*** Action Alert: Turn Up this Weekend ***
Saturday, May 30th at 12:00 Noon.
Peet’s Coffee
5095 Telegraph Ave.
North Oakland

Join us this Saturday, May 30th for another Boycott Sprouts campaign action! Let’s make sure they get the message that we don’t want them building a big box Supermarket on OUR public farmland in Albany, CA.

Meet up to coordinate rides and logistics at 12 Noon at Peet’s Coffee in North Oakland (5095 Telegraph Ave). Please be on time. There will be rides for those who need them!

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/680604638712057/

                                   …NOT “just because.”

                                                   

*** REPORT BACKS! ***

“Produce, Not Privatization!” UC Regent’s Meeting & TV Report

Disguised as UC President Janet Napolitano, community members voice their support for locally-controlled food instead of privatization.

On May 21st, students and community members gathered to make public comments at the Regent’s meeting, sparking interest from the national Spanish-language network, Telemundo, which did a follow up piece at the farm following the Regents meeting:

http://www.telemundoareadelabahia.com/noticias/lucha-presrevar-granja-organica-UC-Gill-Tract-Community-Farm-albany-california-304921971.html#Here are the comments that sparked the piece.  Our folks speak from minutes 16:30-21:25:http://lecture.ucsf.edu/ets/Play/5d19a962e0be482aadf3737f3219346d1d?catalog=333992fe-1405-4d6b-ae39-512a30188f34We have yet to receive any official response from the Regents, but were encouraged by emails of support and further enquiry from Student Regent, Sadia Saifuddin. Onward!

Marching Against Monsanto: For a Clean, Fair and Just Food System!

In Oakland last Saturday, OTF joined forces with hundreds in the annual global day of protest against Monsanto. At the action, our #BoycottSprouts social media campaign channelled the voices of even more community members in opposition to Sprouts’s incursion.

Even kids don’t want Sprouts on the  Gill Tract. Yes, really.

Your contribution to our social media efforts advances this land defense struggle, and every little bit helps!

Click here to plug in:

http://www.boycottsprouts.com/#!about3/c1m4v

 *** WANT TO GET INVOLVED? ***

Tell us what you’re into.  From web design, to farming, to social media and outreach, we need all hands on deck.  This quick survey will help us connect you to actions, no matter where in the world you are.

*** PLEASE SUPPORT OUR WORK! Donate online. ***

5/21 UC Regents: Produce not Privatization! 5/23 March Against Monsanto, and more

Esteemed farmrades,

Loads of gratitude to all who showed up at the potluck! We shared candid reflections of the Permaculture Action Weekend, and prepared ourselves to carry out yet another successful direct action at Sprouts Walnut Creek last week.

Many thanks also to Eddie Risse for producing this video on the farm-stand direct action. The video gives a deeper interview with an OTF organizer about the Environmental Health impacts of the development, and shares the perspective of Eduardo Martinez, newly-elected Richmond City Councilmember.

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the hella important Regents Meeting this week!

*** UC Regents: We want Produce not Privatization! ***

Thursday, May 21st at 8am
UCSF Mission Bay Campus Conference Center, San Francisco
https://www.facebook.com/events/925378890815728/

Join us this Thursday to tell UC President Napolitano and the UC Regents: Don’t pave, pollute and privatize our public land! We want produce, not privatization!

Carpools will be gathering at MacArthur BART at 6:15am. Screening and entrance typically begins at 8am. If you would like to give public comment, please email Vanessa Raditz at vraditz@gmail.com who will help you get on the list with UCOP.

UC Regents Capitalize on Environmental Injustice Despite Statewide Efforts

The UC Regents are mismanaging public resources on a wide-spread level, far beyond just tuition hikes. This privatization is endangering the health of CA students, workers, and communities.
For 20 years, students and community members have been calling on the UC to stop its plans to pave and privatize the Gill Tract Farm. This undemocratic decision by the UC Regents capitalizes on environmental injustices, sacrifices the health of vulnerable communities, and opposes the State of California’s policies and interests. If the UC refuses to halt the development of the Gill Tract, Occupy the Farm is calling on a broad coalition of supporters to pass SCA 1, which will give legislative control over the UC Regents so that they no longer have sole authority over such community decisions.

*** March Against Monsanto: REAL Food for All! ***

Join us as we March Against Monsanto!

Saturday, May 23rd
11:30 – Meet Up & Welcome at Frank Ogawa / Oscar Grant Plaza
12:00 – March begins
1:00 – Reassemble at Lake Merritt Lakeside Park (Pergola) located at 550 El Embarcadero Oakland, CA 94610 for RALLY!

https://www.facebook.com/events/911273608892687/

Occupy the Farm will be speaking at the rally following the March! Please join in the groundswell of people rising in defense of unadulterated seeds, protection of biodiversity, responsible stewardship of the soil, ethical practices, a toxin-free food system and the sustainable future we all want.

Homemade signs, costumes and strollers all encouraged. This will be a family-friendly peaceful protest.

*** REPORT BACKS! ***

Boycott Sprouts actions pop up in Austin, TX!

A team of food justice supporters hit up two different Sprouts retailers, labeling their products with #BoycottSprouts stickers that told people about Sprouts’s plans to pave urban farmland and directed folks to our website. Call your friends across California and the Southwest to encourage them to start up their own stealthy, powerful protests as well!

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Bait-and-Switch Fools Sprouts, Wasting Time & Money

In the latest action targeting Sprouts (the so-called) Farmers Market last week, Occupy the Farm activists pulled off a bait-and-switch tactic, fooling the company into thinking we were targeting their Daly City store when instead we had shown up at the Walnut Creek location undercover. Down at Daly City, there were 17 cops and 10 Sprouts managers from across the area, wasting them them thousands of dollars of personnel time. Meanwhile, in Walnut Creek, we held a shop-in, mic checks, a rally outside, costumes and theatrical productions of environmental destruction! It was a good night had by all, and definitely one that will make it back up to Sprouts headquarters.

*** SAVE THE DATE ***

– Sprouts Action coming up! Clear your calendar for May 30th!

*** WANT TO GET INVOLVED? ***

Tell us what you’re into. From web design, to farming, to social media and outreach, we need all hands on deck. This quick survey will help us connect you to actions, no matter where in the world you are.

*** PLEASE SUPPORT OUR WORK! Donate online. ***

  Continue reading

How to Protest a Sprouts!

Last week’s ‪#‎BoycottSprouts‬ action was a huge success! The old bait and switch tactic worked like a charm. Over 10 management and 17 police officers gathered down in Daly City, preparing for us, but Occupy the Farm and allies went back for a visit to Walnut Creek. Shop-In, mic checks, a rally outside, costumes and theatrical productions of environmental destruction… It was a good night had by all, and definitely one that will be making it back up to Sprouts headquarters.

 

Check out this great report back from the action and background on the struggle written by a local neighbor! Consider this a step by step in how you, too, could organize a Sprouts protest!

 

On Wednesday evening, 5/13/15, a group of intrepid folks from Occupy the Farm gathered to do a last-minute check-in and plan for our direct action at a Sprouts Farmers Market store. Our purpose: Protest the proposed plan for the paving over of a portion of the south side of our beloved Gill Tract in order to build a new Sprouts at that location.

 

Just a little background:
Gill Tract Farm in Albany, CA is the last 20 acres of historic farmland in the Bay area, and is held in the public trust by the University of California, and belongs to all of us. The University has been trying to pave it for 2 decades, in its endless search for ways to increase its revenue, but the small income they would make from leasing this land to private companies is a drop in the bucket compared to their massive budget shortfalls from mismanaging our public resources. People in the surrounding community in Albany and across the East Bay strenuously object to paving over this wonderful, historic section of farmland in the East Bay. Gill Tract has been used for decades as an agricultural research site. The northern section of the Gill Tract, thanks to the massive protests of Occupy the Farm and the community in 2012, is now protected as agricultural land for ten years and will not be developed for business and non-agricultural purposes until 2022.

 

However, the south side of this public land is still under threat of being paved and privatized any day, and the anchor tenant of the commercial development is Sprouts “Farmers Market”. Sprouts present itself as a “farmers market,” but it does not obtain most of its produce locally, it does not pay its employees well, and it fights labor and unions. Many of its products (much like another so-called “natural” store owned by a monster corporation) are not natural or organic or healthy. This is merely a corporation and big business as usual, masquerading as a healthy, consumer-oriented and environment-friendly entity.

We’ve been saying, NO! We want a REAL Farmers Market on historic Farmland.

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What happened Wednesday!
After preparing and making plans, our group of concerned farmers and neighbors caravaned out to the Sprouts market in Walnut Creek with banners, costumes, and good will.  We arrived in waves of small groups, an unassuming group of your regular neighborly shoppers.

We grabbed shopping carts and started browsing through Sprouts, slowly filling our carts with various items – many overpriced and not so healthy. Some of us did some invisible political theater- engaging with other shoppers in the store about the weird hypocrisies we noticed.
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Huh, isn’t it weird how they’re calling these bananas from Peru local?

 

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I love “natural” white bread and “farm fresh” banana bread mix!

 

 

Suddenly the call of “Mic check” rang out, and the pleasant consumer experience was broken. Spread out throughout the store, we started repeating back the mic checks so that all shoppers could hear us. We imparted information to our fellow shoppers, such as the fact that Sprouts is not a “real farmers market,” that it is a big corporation, that it doesn’t obtain much of its food locally, and that they have been busting up unions and violating workers rights.

 

Some shoppers looked curious, some puzzled, some amused, and a few were annoyed. We handed out informational fliers and chatted with some customers. Management was remarkably low-key.

 

We sang songs and kept rolling the mic checks as the employees gathered to discuss what to do- almost all of their managers and decision-makers were waiting for us down in Daly City!

 

 

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The police finally arrived – only a very few – after about a half hour. We overheard the cops telling management they could have us all arrested right away. At that point, we all abandoned our shopping carts and marched outside for a rally.

We spread out some large banners – reading “Public Land for the People” and “Farms are for Farming” and continued to sing songs and chant. We also had an energetic percussionist helping us out on hand drums. One favorite song was “Sprouts, Sprouts, just pull on out, This is a deal we can do without, Come on, we’re talkin’ to you, come on…” sung to the tune of the 80s tune “Shout” by Tears for Fears. (Try it…. it works really well!)

 

We get our musical inspiration from everywhere, even the 80s… Direct action at Walnut Creek #Sprouts protesting proposed destruction of farmland to put in a corporate #Sprouts store at #GillTract. #BoycottSprouts #GillTractDefense

Posted by Singn Play on Thursday, May 14, 2015

We had some great produce joining us – a singing, chanting bunch of grapes and a nice stalk of broccoli, who went running through the store at one point, wailing and running in a panic from a Sprouts bulldozer that was trying to plow them under!
We then paraded back in as a procession of chanters, including our friendly grapes and broccoli, and even the bulldozer, who seemed to have cooled his jets, marching through the store with our banners.

Our point was made. A few shoppers learned a few things. The police and the management distracted back at Daly City learned that we were thinking one step ahead. Some tweets, photos, videos, and posts were sent out to the world; and a good time was had by all.

We called it a day, and headed home.

Find out more! Get involved!
If you’d like to see more tweets and videos of this action, take a look at the timelines for @Occupyfarm, @SingnPlay and @No-Latch on Twitter. Also the Facebook pages for Occupy the Farm and for Singn Play.
And please consider becoming more involved with Occupy the Farm and the efforts to save all of Gill Tract from development and preserve it for community farmland and uses. You can also come on down to Gill Tract Community Farm to help at the community garden by doing some actual farming and other chores. It serves a great purpose – feeding people for free – and it’s also good for your mood and spirit!
More info about direct actions and the struggle to save Gill Tract is at the Occupy the Farm Facebook page. And info about volunteering and work at the farm is at the UC Gill Tract Community Farm Facebook page.

Get involved with OTF this Thurs, Farmstand rebuilt at AfrikaTown, and more!

Dearest Farmrades,

The ripples keep spreading from our REAL farmers market action April 25th and 26th at the Gill Tract!  Relive the weekend in Peter Menchini’s fabulous new video of the days of action, pinned to the top of our facebook.  Please share the video far and wide and in the comments, tag your friends who were present that weekend!

*** GET INVOLVED THIS THURSDAY! ***

Action Refection & Next Steps Potluck
Thursday, 5/7, 6-9pm in Omni Commons
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Join other farmrades for a community reflection on our April 25th/26th days of action, to share thoughts on what we can do better next round, and give props to those who made this one successful! We especially invite the input of folks NEW to the Gill Tract struggle, as fresh eyes offer important insights.

If you are able, bring a snack or dish to share.
6-7pm is food and socializing. 7-9pm facilitated discussion.

*** UPDATE:  Farm stand successfully rebuilt at AfrikaTown Garden ***

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“Uwezo wote wa watu! We are appreciative of the farm stand from Occupy the Farm being stationed in Afrika Town. We will make productive use of it. This is a positive step towards building solidarity in multiple communities around the idea of working together to liberate the land.”
– Abdul-Rahman Shakur, Qilombo & Afrika Town garden

“The transfer of the farm stand structure from the Gill Tract defense weekend to AfrikaTown shows much more than the practical sharing of resources between two grassroots land defense efforts. It symbolizes building solidarity and bridging networks between communities that actively attempt to create justice-based food systems–the kind that prioritizes the needs of real people over profit-obsessed machines of commerce.”
– Susan Parks, local urban farmer and food justice organizer

Read more from last week’s blog post, now with updated information and pictures: Seeds of Solidarity between Gill Tract Defense and AfrikaTown Garden

*** SAVE THE DATE *** 

– Sprouts Action coming up! Find out more at the Thursday Potluck 😉

May 21stPARTY and Direct Action Training. More information TBD.

May 23rd: REAL Food for All! March Against Monsanto.

*** WANT TO GET INVOLVED? ***

Tell us what you’re into.  From web design, to farming, to social media and outreach, we need all hands on deck.  This quick survey will help us connect you to actions, no matter where in the world you are.

*** PLEASE SUPPORT OUR WORK! Donate online. ***

Seeds of solidarity between Gill Tract Defense and AfrikaTown

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The farm stand now provides defense, and a space to share food, for the community at AfrikaTown garden in Oakland.

For the third anniversary of the first Occupy the Farm action, and the first birthday of the resulting community farm, over 500 community members and students from across the state gathered for a direct action farmers market demonstrating our visions for the south side of the Gill Tract, set to become a union-busting greenwashed chain store by the UC’s privatization plans.

On Tuesday April 28th, in response to this enormous show of community support, the UC police came to the south side of the Gill Tract to dismantle the farm stand and plough the crops that were lovingly planted.

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Though the UC succeeded in destroying the crops, farmers were able to preserve the farm stand. The farm stand is now providing defense, and a space to share food, for the community at AfrikaTown garden in Oakland.

“Uwezo wote wa watu! We are appreciative of the farm stand from Occupy the Farm being stationed in Afrika Town. We will make productive use of it. This is a positive step towards building solidarity in multiple communities around the idea of working together to liberate the land.”

– Abdul-Rahman Shakur, Quilombo

After weeks of building solidarity, brought the farmstand down to the AfrikaTown garden in Oakland, which is facing imminent threat of bulldozing for a gentrifying development project. This past weekend, Gill Tract and AfrikaTown farmers rebuilt the farm stand at this other site of struggle so that it can be productively used in their programs to feed the community, and to help in their efforts to defend the land.

“The transfer of the farm stand structure from the Gill Tract defense weekend to Afrika Town shows much more than the practical sharing of resources between two grassroots land defense efforts. It symbolizes building solidarity and bridging networks between communities that actively attempt to create justice-based food systems–the kind that prioritizes the needs of real people over profit-obsessed machines of commerce. It shows that the fight to protect a parcel of prime farm land, from being paved over to develop a supermarket that caters to a middle class clientele, is intimately tied to the struggle to defend a black community’s food garden from getting bulldozed to build more high-end condos for further gentrification.

– Susan Parks, local urban farmer and food justice organizer

Destroying food that could feed people, cutting trees that help us breathe: This is what our public university does to demoralize and destroy community resistance to their profit-driven privatization plans. But our community is stronger than their destruction, and strong communities are the roots of resilience.

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This is solidarity. This is a resilient community building strength. This is the movement we aim to cultivate.

If you want to get involved with Occupy the Farm, you can take this quick survey and we’ll contact you to get plugged in.

REAL Farmers Market Success! Today: Call Sprouts

Dearest Farmrades,

We are blown away and deeply grateful to the community support that poured in for the struggle for the Gill Tract this weekend. Thank you to everyone who made the weekend such a successful and beautiful celebration of the enduring, resilient, 20 year struggle for this piece of historic public farmland.

We have a lot of work still to do to kick out Sprouts and to preserve this land. If you want to join the team and get plugged into organizing, please take this quick survey, or support our work by donating online.

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On land that was once a historic arboretum, where the UC recently slashed 60 trees at dawn with armed guard, we rallied together as a community to build the world we want to live in. With a collective voice, we declared that we want a #REALfarmersmarket, not a Sprouts supermarket.

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Check out these amazing pictures from Kelly Johnson Revolutionary Photography, and check out Occupy the Farm’s facebook page for the video of Ayla Nereo’s performance, the march, raising the farmstand roof, and so much more.

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Meanwhile, over 50 student farmers from across the University of California gathered together to discuss the privatization of our education and our food system, and SEAL launched a sign-on letter for students across the state of California, declaring that: It is in the public interest of the state of California and the world for our land-grant public research university to pursue research and education for a living future.” Please spread the word to any UC, CSU, or CC students you know across the state!

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UC student gardeners at the Gill Tract standing in solidarity with the Immokalee Farmworkers in Florida demanding #FairFood. All farmers united for labor justice in the food system!

*** TODAY: Call Sprouts: Stop Paving Farmland! ***

Today, people across the country are giving Sprouts administrators a call letting them know that we don’t want their greenwashed, union-busting chain on historic farmland. Join us!

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Here is a sample script to try: “Hello my name is ____, and I live in _____. I’m calling to demand that you not build a Sprouts on the historic Gill Tract Farm in Albany, California. We want a REAL farmers market, not more supermarkets! I will continue to Boycott your store until you pull out of this development.

You can also check out our Frequently Asked Question on the Occupy the Farm website if you want any rebuttals to the lies that they have been fed by the UC’s Capital Projects. Yes, this land IS farmland, and no, the community does NOT want them here!

Ted Frumkin, Senior Vice President – Business Development
tedfrumkin@sprouts.com
602-682-1556

Seth Brown, Vice President – Store Development
sethbrown@sprouts.com
480-385-2309

Elizabeth Hoxworth, Director of Real Estate in CA
elizabethhoxworth@sprouts.com
818-489-3379

Don’t forget our SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN! 

Take a photo of yourself with your definition of a REAL farmer’s market, and tweet or Facebook : @sproutsfm Don’t pave over the Gill Tract for your greenwashed, union-busting chain! #BoycottSprouts  #GillTractDefense  #OccupyTheFarm

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*** WANT TO GET INVOLVED? ***

Tell us what you’re into.  From web design, to farming, to social media and outreach, we need all hands on deck.  This quick survey will help us connect you to actions, no matter where in the world you are.

*** PLEASE SUPPORT OUR WORK! Donate online. ***

Farmers Occupy Proposed Development Site with Homegrown Farm Stand

Albany, CA—Following Saturday night’s occupation of the Gill Tract’s south side, a piece of urban farmland slated to become a chain supermarket, celebrations continue today on both sides of the farm. On Saturday 4/25 over 400 people joined the Permaculture Action Day hosted by the UC Gill Tract Community Farm. Bay area residents and UC students from across the state participated in an exciting day of farming, workshops and music.

Shortly before 5pm, Occupy the Farm, joined by community farmers, students and the East Bay permaculture community, marched down San Pablo Ave to the south side of the Gill Tract. Together, the crowd, in an act of civil disobedience, built a farm stand on the site of the proposed union-busting corporate supermarket, Sprouts “Farmers Market.” The private development would pave over 5-6 acres of the historic Gill Tract Farm.

Music, performances, storytelling, and an outdoor screening of INHABIT lasted into the night, as farmers and neighbors pitched tents to occupy the threatened land.

The celebrations continue Sunday 4/26.  From 10-2, the South Side Farmers Market is hosting local queer farmers and farmers of color, a local soup maker, as well as workshops and music throughout the day.

Meanwhile, on the north side, the UC Gill Tract community farm is celebrating the community farm’s one-year birthday party. Highlights include planting in the children’s garden, otherwise known as the Ladybug Peace and Justice Patch.

Finally, UC Berkeley’s Students for Engaged and Active Learning (SEAL) has called for an Inter-UC gathering at 1:30pm, including a panel on scholar-activism.

Join us for the second day of celebration of land, labor, life, and learning!

Join us for our REAL farmers market!

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See more photos from Kelly Johnson Revolutionary Photography

 

Farmers Build Farm Stand to Protest Sprouts Development at UC Berkeley’s Gill Tract

Contact: Matthew McHale, 562-754-8756 matthewmchale@outlook.com
Vanessa Raditz, 202-510-6861 vraditz@gmail.com

Albany, CA—At the end of an exciting day of farming, workshops and music at the UC Gill Tract Community Farm on Saturday, Occupy the Farm led a procession of community farmers, students and the East Bay permaculture community down San Pablo Ave to the south side of the Gill Tract to build a farm stand on the site of the proposed supermarket, Sprouts “Farmers Market.” The private development would pave over 5-6 acres of the Gill Tract.

The farmers are building the farm stand to protest “Sprouts’ and UC Berkeley’s privatization of community land, public education, and local food and farming” the coalition stated. It will also highlight what a real farmers’ market on the Gill Tract could look like, by selling food grown at the UC Gill Tract Community Farm and by local queer farmers and Farmers of Color.

“Our community doesn’t need another corporate supermarket,” says Albany resident, Ed Fields.

The weekend of farming will continue at the Farm on Sunday, with a celebration of the one-year anniversary of the UC Gill Tract Community Farm, permaculture education, kids’ planting workshops, live music, farm tours, and speakers.

Full event details are below, and at https://gilltractfarm.wordpress.com/

This action is a continuation of 20 year struggle by students, faculty, and the community to protect the entirety of the Gill Tract and turn it into an Urban Farm.

“Our land grant University should be honoring its mission of research and education for the public interest, with a center for Urban Agriculture and Food Justice on all 20 acres of this historic farmland, which could include a real farmers’ market,” says Camille Fassett, a student studying food systems at UC Berkeley, and member of SEAL (Students for Engaged and Active Learning).

On Monday, the coalition will hold a national call in day, urging Sprouts’ executives to pull out of the development on the Gill Tract.

Local farmers stress that the Sprouts corporation also hurts farmers and workers through its business and labor practices. “Sprouts is not a farmers’ market,” says Hank Herrera, founder of New Hope Farms & Gill Tract Farm Coalition member. “Using that name for a big-box supermarket is an insult to local farmers who are actually working to fix our broken food system.”

Main Press Times

  • Saturday, 5 pm – Erecting the Farm Stand
  • Sunday, 10 am – Farmers celebrate one-year anniversary of the Community Farm

Weekend Schedule

April 25: Permaculture Action Day
10am: Opening Ceremony and Morning Movement
11am: Sheet Mulching and Building A Resilient Food Ecosystem
12:30: Local Lunch & Music by Cello Joe
2: Creating a Just Transition: Featuring Art Ludwig, Dr. Gail Myers, Penny Livingston, Kirtrina Baxter, moderated by Gopal Dayaneni
3:30: Aztec Dancers: Calpulli Huey Papalotl
4: Music and Dancing with Splendor
5: Closing

April 26: UC Gill Tract Community Farm Birthday Party!
10am: Decolonizing Yoga Workshop and Morning Movement
11am: Storytelling with Farm Elders: Gill Tract Oral Histories
12: Lunch and Speakers from Soil Not Oil Coalition
1:30: Gathering of UC Student Gardeners
3: Panel with Scholar-Activists
5: Closing Ceremony: Visioning the year ahead

Week of Success!

Dear Farmrades,

Thank you for all of your support over the past month. From our first Boycott Sprouts action at Walnut Creek at the beginning of March, to the third (and fourth!) ones yesterday, this month has been packed to the gills with success stories and community mobilizations of support. There are still more big days coming up right around the corner- thank you for sticking with us for this ride!

Ways to support right now: please support our work by donating online, or take this quick survey to help us connect you to roles in actions, no matter where in the world you are.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WEEK!

* WEDNESDAY 4/15: HOP ON THE BUS! #Fightfor15 and #BoycottSprouts

On April 15th, urban farmers from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm, Occupy the Farm, other food and climate justice communities, and fast food workers joined together to challenge industrial agriculture and fast food corporations, build worker power, and fight for complete transformation of the food system.

FIRST STOP: 8am, Fight for Fifteen action at McDonalds in Oakland

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Fast Food workers, farmers, and UC students took action at a local McDonalds at 8am, in conjunction with Fight for Fifteen actions happening all across the country, to demand $15/hour and a union. Using creative street theater disruptions, speakers, a banner drop, and pickets, organizers shut down the corporate fast food outlet and supported workers walking out on strike.  At the drive-through shut down, we distributed free burritos made with veggies from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm.

 

12pm, Sprouts “Farmer’s Market” Grand Opening in San Rafael

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After morning actions, fast food workers hopped on the bus with us for the Boycott Sprouts action at the grand opening of a Sprouts “Farmers Market” in San Rafael to protest the greenwashing, union-busting corporate supermarket’s plans to pave the historic Gill Tract Farm. Sprouts is known for their low pay, labor violations and union-busting –these workers also deserve $15/hour and a union. The action included pickets, speakers, and music.

Check out more amazing photos from Peter Menchini and Kelly Johnson Revolutionary Photography!

During our jubilant ‪#‎boycottsprouts action, we caught wind of another protest against a Sprouts development, happening that same day out in a small town in Napa. Some OTF organizers headed out to the agricultural community, where local community members are also protesting a local school selling off their land to a Sprouts development.

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Check out their website and sign their petition.

Here’s an example comment you could leave along with your signature on the petition: “I stand with the Napa community as an ally from the Boycott Sprouts campaign (www.BoycottSprouts.com). Sprouts is a big-box, commercial supermarket that calls itself a “Farmers Market” while paving over our historic farmland at the Gill Tract. I stand with all communities across the country who are protesting against this environmentally-devastating Sprouts chain, and undemocratic development projects.”

* TUESDAY, APRIL 14: EIR LAWSUIT WENT TO TRIAL 

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A Chance for Justice for the Gill Tract Farm

“Civil rights lawyer Dan Siegel, representing the community, argued that the point of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is to guarantee the public the right to information on the environmental impacts of development projects. He argued that the EIR’s failure to provide data on alternatives impinged on Albany citizens rights, prohibiting them from advocating for a project with less environmental and health impacts.”

* COMING UP!

EARTH WEEK AT THE GILL TRACT!

Join us at the Gill Tract Community Farm as we recognize the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day with a two day celebration of farming, workshops, music, and fun in the spirit of the 45 year history of the Gill Tract Farm.

 

April 25 – Permaculture Action Day!

The Polish Ambassador, Ayla Nereo and the Permaculture Action Tour return to the Gill Tract!

10am: Opening Ceremony and Morning Movement
11am: Sheet Mulching and Building A Resilient Food Ecosystem
12:30: Local Lunch & Music by Cello Joe
2: Creating a Just Transition: 
Featuring Art Ludwig, Dr. Gail Myers, Penny Livingston, Kirtrina Baxter, moderated by Gopal Dayaneni
3:30: Aztec Dancers: Calpulli Huey Papalotl
4: Music and Dancing with Splendor
5: Special Guest & Closing

All day: Sheet Mulching, Workshops on Energy Justice and Community Power, Edible Commons, Drought Land Permaculture, Caring for Potted Fruit Trees, Vocal Improv, and Solar Cooking!

 

April 26: Birthday Party for the Gill Tract Community Farm Project

10am: Decolonizing Yoga Workshop and Morning Movement
11am: Storytelling with Farm Elders: Gill Tract Oral Histories
12: Lunch and Speakers from Soil Not Oil Coalition
1:30: Gathering of UC Student Gardeners
3: Panel with Scholar-Activists
5: Closing Ceremony: Visioning the year ahead

All day: Farm Tours, Donation Farm Stand with produce from local Queer Farmers of Color (10-2) and the Community Farm (3-5), Planting Summer Crops in the Community Farm, Kid’s planting in the Ladybug Peace & Justice Patch

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Sprouts Management Intimidates Protests of Their Brand

The management of the chain supermarket retailer Sprouts “Farmers Market” is intimidating and repressing protestors who are speaking out about their greenwashed brand, which is set to pave historic Gill Tract farmland in the East Bay.

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One week after a large demonstration at their chain in Walnut Creek, protestors planned a follow-up action for the chain in Petaluma. Over the course of the week before the Petaluma action, Sprouts management sent protestors legal documents suggesting that the parking lot in front of the chain supermarket was not a “free speech” zone, in an attempt to intimidate protestors. On the morning of the protest, the management called for an unprecedented large turnout of police before the first protestors had even arrived, again as an attempt to intimidate. Finally, the Sprouts Management mislead their employees to perceive protestors as violent, telling them false and embellished stories of past protests.

Sprouts is known to be a union-busting grocery store with frequent labor violations. This corporate-style management is not surprising for the chain, despite their “farmers market brand”.

Boycott Sprouts organizers say that they stand with Sprouts employees, who face labor violations in the food system, but they will continue to demonstrate and highlight the greenwashing of the Sprouts corporation, until they pull out of the development of the historic Gill Tract farm.