The nonprofit Urban Tilth, which owns and operates the North Richmond Farm, and supporting organizations and community members are protesting a warehouse development proposed for a nearby property.
Southern California-based Panattoni Development Company has pitched the possibility of building a 120,000-square-foot, 40-foot-tall warehouse on a 6.8-acre property at 411 Brookside Drive that would focus on manufacturing, production and distribution.
The North Richmond Farm operates at 323 Brookside Drive.
On Friday, Urban Tilth and supporters blocked the intersection of Brookside Drive at Giant Road and Fred Jackson Way in protest of the 4-story project they say could “reduce solar exposure for the North Richmond Farm by up to 4 hours daily, dramatically impacting the community farm’s capacity to grow food for over 500 families weekly.” Opponents also decry impacts of traffic from a project they say could include 150 parking spaces.
Urban Tilth purchased the farm in September last year after operating it with community support for seven years.
Now, the nonprofit is proposing to acquire 411 Brookside and maintain it “as historic agriculture land and develop a community vision for its restoration and future development.”
“We are coming together to defend our neighbors’ rights to locally-sourced food, collective economics, and green spaces,” said Kyndelle Johnson, base building coordinator for RichmondLAND, which “If the construction of the Panattoni warehouse moves forward, we would be sacrificing opportunities for long-term education, cultural strength, food justice, and so much more.”
Panatonni has not yet responded to a request for comment.