Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s there now?
The Gill Tract is a fourteen acre parcel of land at the corner of Marin and San Pablo Avenue; at the gateway to Albany, California. Having bought the 100 acre Gill Nursery in 1928, the land is currently the property of the University of California who has used it for agricultural research (biological pest control) until recently.
2. What is your vision for it?
The Gill Tract is the last large piece of prime agricultural land left in the East Bay. We want to preserve its unique historical and agriculturalcharacter and transform it into a working organic farm that is an educational and community resource.
3. You see it as more than a farm?
Yes. Beside its role as an educational tool, we envision a public space that could accommodate a local history museum, musical events and plays, bike paths, native plant exhibits, cooking classes, farm animals for kids, a toddler playground, a duck pond; whatever amenity the community wishes to create. For the last three years, the Gill Tract has hosted a Harvest Festival attended by upwards of a hundred people; many more civic events are possible.
4. Who would benefit from the farm?
The project would benefit the whole East Bay community. Visiting student groups would learn about food production, biology, nutrition, recycling, etc. There are fifty schools within a five mile radius that could engage with the farm’s constantly changing cornucopia. Teens could participate in after school programs. Community members could each have their own plot to grow food. Citizens could stroll along Village Creek, purchase freshly picked ingredients, picnic among the trees, or quaff a latte at the farm café.
5. Who will run the farm?
We expect to hire an experienced organic farmer, two assistants and an educational specialist. We imagine people will volunteer as well.
6. How will the farm be funded?
The farm will be self-sustaining. It will sell its produce to the school district’s lunch program, to local restaurants hungry for fresh seasonal vegetables and greens, to citizens at a farm stand, families with regular boxes of produce, etc.
7. Isn’t this idea unrealistic?
Not at all. Fairview Gardens in Goleta, in a similar urban setting and the same size as Village Creek Farm, earns $700,000 a year. Check out www.fairviewgardens.org
8. Who would back such a plan?
Everyone we’ve ever spoken to has loved the idea. Hundreds have signed letters of support. We’ve had endorsements from Alice Waters, Loni Hancock, Tom Bates, the Albany Teachers Association, the Albany Unified School District, etc., etc.
9. How can I get involved?
To receive occasional updates, add your name to our mailing list at email@example.com. However, we welcome new members who want to take an active role in making this vision a reality. You are invited to come to our next organizational meeting.