IN SOLIDARITY WITH GEZI, “OCCUPY THE FARM” EMERGES IN SAN FRANCISCO

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On June 1, 2013, approximately thirty people picked up gardening tools and replanted the recently closed community garden known as the Hayes Valley Farm. By the next morning, tree platforms emerged mounted high in the eucalyptus, ample food and supplies arrived from supportive community members and the site had been renamed in solidarity with Gezi Park: Gezi Gardens.

Gezi Park elevated quickly as iconic of the global problem of shrinking local community access to natural spaces. Gezi Park, a patch of green in a concrete landscape just north of Taksim Square, is the home to over six hundred trees in the center of European Istanbul. To protest the leveling of the trees to build artillery barracks and a shopping mall, a peaceful demonstration convened in Gezi Park on May 28th .  The peaceful occupation, like the Gezi Gardens in San Francisco, was characterized by music, yoga and the sharing of food. On May 31st, just before dawn, police raided the camp with tear gas, compressed water and gas injuring over a dozen protesters.

At Gezi Gardens in San Francisco, peace continues with familiar Occupy SF peace advocate, “Diamond” Dave Whittaker and local band, Thunderground Collective. Days before, Gezi Gardens was the popular community garden known as the Hayes Valley Farm.  Located on a 2.2-acre plot on Laguna Street between Fell and Oak streets, the site harvested a steady stream of produce distributed throughout the city. Volunteers created an idyllic urban farm and a strong sense of community and appreciation for local, organic food for all.  In the five years the farm was planted, work parties often involved toddlers dancing to live music while parents worked.  It was heartbreaking to many when the farm closed to make way for a condo development. By June 1, 2013, the site known as ‘Parcel O’ by the City of San Francisco, became Gezi Gardens.

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