ALBANY -- Five bands will perform at a fundraising concert April 20 at 3090 King Street in Berkeley to benefit urban agriculture activist group Occupy the Farm.

The group, which a year ago broke into a parcel of land owned by UC Berkeley known as the Gill Tract, has been attempting to raise awareness of urban farming and land use issues.

The FarmSprung 4/20 show runs from 8 p.m.-midnight and a $10-15 sliding scale donation is requested. Scheduled artists are Voyaj, Upside Drown, Shake Your Peace!, Future Twin and Michael Zeligs.

The group's email announcing the show reads, "Come ready to shake it, and enjoy curiosities of the beverage and delectable variety. You may even catch news on spring strategies if you're lucky, as the fight for farmland across the Bay Area evolves."

Occupy the Farm first broke into the land known as the Gill Tract on April 22, 2012 -- Earth Day. The occupation was to protest a proposed development on nearby land also owned by the University of California.

University officials denied that the occupied land would be developed, but protesters claimed if the neighboring development was approved, the occupied land would eventually be lost.

The land is currently used by the university for agricultural research.

On May 14, university police removed the protesters and sealed off the property.

The protesters returned several times to tend to crops they had planted on the land and continue to protest, but each return has been brief.


Advertisement

Since the protests, the development agreement was approved by the Albany City Council in July, then rescinded after a referendum qualified that required either the council to rescind the deal or put it to a public vote.

Two lawsuits were also filed against the project. Whole Foods, which was to have a 55,000-square-foot grocery store as part of the project, pulled out and instead announced plans to open a new store in Berkeley.

University officials insist that the project, which includes housing for senior citizens, will go forward once they secure a new anchor tenant.