WHEN: Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 1pm
WHERE: Sprouts Farmers Market, 1530 Geary Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94597
WHAT: Farmers and supporters of the Gill Tract Farm Coalition will rally to tell Sprouts “Save the Gill Tract! Don’t pave over this historic farmland!”
On March 14th, farmers and supporters of the Gill Tract Farm are gathering to demand that Sprouts “Farmers Market” stop their plans to pave over public historic farmland in Albany, CA to put up a big-box store. The farmers and supporters are demanding that all 20 acres of the historic Gill Tract be protected as an education and research center in urban agriculture and food justice, including a productive urban farm.
Farmers like Hank Herrera want to highlight the hypocrisy of Sprouts calling itself a “farmers market” while it is destroying the historic Gill Tract farmland to build its newest store.
“Sprouts is not a Farmer’s Market. Using that name for a big-box supermarket is an insult to local farmers who are actually working to fix our broken food system.” – Hank Herrera, New Hope Farms & Gill Tract Farm Coalition
Supporters from the labor and food justice communities, like Brooke Anderson, are also expressing their concerns with Sprouts.
“We do not need another corporate supermarket giant that exploits its workers, especially not on public land. We need a real farmers market.” – Brooke Anderson, Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project
In late February, UC Berkeley cut down 53 trees in preparation for the construction of the new Sprouts store, despite an ongoing lawsuit regarding the projects’ Environmental Impact Report. Farmers and supporters want to see the land used for a community-university partnership exploring innovative solutions to problems in our food system.
Despite almost 20 years of local organizing against commercial development, UC Berkeley continues to push for a chain grocery store and commercial retail space on the Gill Tract.
In April 2012, Occupy the Farm raised the profile of this 20-year community struggle by camping on the land and planting a publicly-accessible farm on the Gill Tract. Under pressure from community activists, Whole Foods pulled out of the proposed development, and instead opened two blocks south of the tract. Occupy the Farm helped win temporary protection for a portion of the land, some of which is now the vibrant Gill Tract Community Farm. Farmers hope to see this project expand to all remaining 20 acres of the historic farmland stewarded by the University of California, Berkeley for research and education for the public good.