Oxford Tract

Arianna Hee
Spring 2022

This semester, I had the opportunity to work with the Berkeley Student Farms and spent most of my time on the land at Oxford Tract. Oxford Tract houses the Agroecology Lab and shares space with INC garden, Fannie Lou Hamer garden, People’s Program, and other lab research groups. I had the joy of supporting Cole Rainey (PhD) in their long-term no-till vs till experiment and soil sampling trips across multiple farms in California. Relationship-building has been the most gratifying part of my work, as it has allowed me to connect with so many new and returning volunteers as I facilitated weekly open hours. It’s allowed me to learn under the wisdom and guidance of incredible community members like Keisha, the newly hired Agroecology Coordinator. It’s allowed me to explore deeper connections to my own ancestral lineage in relation to land stewardship. Most importantly, it’s allowed me to consider the question of how I might reciprocate the love and care that this land has and continues to offer me. There are so many avenues in how we might continue to uplift and advocate for the protection and wellbeing of human and non-human beings. Partnering with the Berkeley Student Farms is an incredibly fulfilling avenue that I hope future students consider devoting their time to.

Stewardship at the Oxford Tract

Catherine de la Pena
Spring 2022

This semester, I worked with the Bowles Agroecology Lab at the Oxford Tract, an agricultural
research facility that has been owned by the University since 1923. The agroecology lab is conducting a
long term experiment across a large section of the tract, studying urban agriculture and no-till
management strategies. The presence of the lab creates a framework of research that legitimizes the
communities and relationships that have emerged through the context of the tract. Through active
engagement with the land, plants, and humans, visitors to the tract embed themselves within complex and
interwoven communities. Over the course of the internship, I worked with other stewards to facilitate
open hours, dream up spring and summer crop plans, and assist with research projects looking at soil
health across other small farms.