Dijon: attempt to evict the Engrenage Gardens

Early this Friday morning, the occupants of the Engrenage Gardens were woken up by municipal police officers and three backhoe loaders that had been sent to ravage the vegetable gardens. The rapid arrival of supporters allowed them to stop the advance of the machines. The protagonists’ account of the events.

Waking up this morning, to the sound of the “beep-beep” of the bulldozers. Astonishment to discover the Jardins de l’Engrenage, surrounded by the barriers and the police. The beans, the tomatoes (already red!): crushed, the branches of the trees: torn off, the hedges: crushed. The brutality of the machines, facing the thorns of the brambles.

Sponsored by whom? Why was it ordered? The city? The property developer? Nobody on the spot wants to answer our questions. No one to dialogue except the police force and the steel of the machines.

So we’re holding. Together. We hang on, we climb, we watch. We call friends and neighbors. Yesterday they were there for the market, and since June 17, 2020, to share around these gardens a moment of music or petanque… Today we saw tears in their eyes. Since the taking of this land how many gardening tips, crafts and small services have been exchanged; how many stories around this neighborhood and the lives of its inhabitants! So we resist, again.

And it works. The first bulldozer is stopped in the middle of the shared gardens. The second one at the back and the third one doesn’t pass the path. Everyone knows this terrain, sneaks in, passes the bushes. With agility, with conviction, with tenacity the gardeners cling to it and defend it. And this time it’s won: the concrete machines won’t go any further.

Another world is possible. The Gardens and the project they carry have been preserved today.

The Earth, the city belongs to those who live on it. We do not have to suffer decisions disconnected from our daily lives. What will happen if we experience a new confinement soon? We can create a city where everyone regains their autonomy, their ability to feed themselves locally, healthily. Where everyone has the possibility to collectively build coherent projects, where they live, with those who live around them. Let’s refuse the “always more profit”, let’s refuse the never ending concrete jungle of our cities, let’s refuse political and economic connivance. Let’s leave a place for nature, let’s leave spaces of freedom and life, for the Earth and its inhabitants.

We have only one Earth, we have only one Life, let us sow now so that we no longer suffocate, it is possible. Do you hear? The next world is already growing…

8 years ago the municipality ransacked the Lentillères to prevent the installation of a farm.

On Friday, July 24th, about fifteen municipal officers went early morning to the occupied Engrenage gardens to try to ransack them with an bulldozer. An intervention that reminds us of another one, 8 years earlier…

Article originally published on lentilleres.potager.org on March 27, 2012, republished by squat!net at the time:

On Monday, March 26th, a shovel sent by the town hall came to dig through and transform a quality vegetable wasteland into two large fields of deep, gaping holes (see photos). The fields, including the former organic market garden of the Pré Vélot, are next to the Lentilères Collective Vegetable Garden (Pot’col’le). This initiative of the City Hall through the SEMAAD (society of mixed economy and development of the Dijon conurbation, project manager of the eco-city of market gardeners) comes a few days before the second anniversary of the Pot’col’le. On this occasion, a broad invitation was extended to the people of Dijon to come and garden and celebrate. The shovel also arrives just before the demonstration in support of Pot’col’le this Friday (6 pm in front of the Town Hall), and while other gardens are being set up and come to reinforce the dynamics in the neighborhood.

The driver of the shovel, dispatched by SEMAAD and himself commissioned by Eurovia, a subsidiary of the Vinci Group, confirmed that he had received a request to make many more holes than the few samples usually required for soil sampling operations. The different strata of soil and sand extracted and now mixed no longer allow the fertile layers to be found. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Petit, an employee of the SEMAAD met on the site and visibly disturbed by the express arrival of about twenty angry gardeners, nevertheless admitted that nothing would probably be built on these lands before 5 years. The waste is palpable.

We recall here that despite our repeated proposals Mr. Pribetich, deputy for urban planning in Dijon and president of the board of directors of the SEMAAD still refuses to receive us about the future neighborhood. His only response, timely, is therefore to send us shovels to make new crops impossible. This will no doubt not prevent the City Hall from continuing to call the current urban planning project “eco-city of market gardeners”.

We are rebelling against this appalling destruction and reaffirm our desire to keep the neighborhood’s vegetable gardens alive. We are always ready to discuss this subject with Mr. Pribetich. We will remind him on Friday at 6 pm in front of the Town Hall during the demonstration of support and this Saturday at Pot’col’le by cultivating whatever it is.

We are at your disposal for more information, and invite you to come and see for yourself the damage on the spot.

Engrenage Gardens
61-63-65 avenue de Langres
21000 Dijon, France
jardinlengrenagedijon [at] riseup [dot] net

Quartier Libre des Lentillères
39 au 45 rue Philippe Guignard
21000 Dijon, France
tierraylibertad [at] riseup [dot] net

Some squats in Dijon https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/dijon/squated/squat
Groups (collectives, social centres, squats) in Dijon https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/city/dijon/country/FR
Events in Dijon https://radar.squat.net/en/events/city/Dijon

Some squats in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR/squated/squat
Groups (collectives, social centres, squats) in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/groups/country/FR
Events in France: https://radar.squat.net/en/events/country/FR

Dijoncter: https://dijoncter.info/recit-de-la-tentive-d-expulsion-du-jardin-de-l-engrenage-2118

Photos of July 24, 2020