From March, part of the Aubervilliers workers’ garden, in Seine-Saint-Denis, will be under construction. A training pool for the 2024 Olympic Games will be built, in part, on the plots. Idir grows potatoes, carrots, cardoons and turnips. Everything is organic: “It pains me a lot. It’s like being taken away a part of me. My plot, I have it a lot used during containment, because there was a shortage in the market. ” This gardener continues : “Me, my plot allowed me to feed myself and my entourage too. I cultivated. I harvested. I gave food, we really enjoyed ourselves.”
The allotment gardens represent only a few hectares of land but this land is enriched by generations of gardeners. It is also a culture of solidarity. Ursula is the oldest gardener: “We work together, we help each other. This year with Covid-19, I didn’t even have seeds, I had nothing. I was given the tomato plants. Aubervilliers is not very rich, so people need to work the land to eat. ” *
I don’t understand what the point of doing this is when we are now.Dolores, a gardener
It is not the swimming pool itself that will be installed instead of the allotment gardens: the land will be sacrificed to build a fitness center. “It is not essential” retorts Dolorès, a gardener: “After the swimming pool, they will build us a spa, a gym and a mineral solarium. Hold on tight, because this solarium mineral will be 2,000 square meters. I born do not understand what is the meaning of doing that in the days where we are now. ” According to her, the ecological commitments of the organizers of the Paris Olympics go against this project: “With everything we do on pollution, on the islets of urban heat, in this town of Aubervilliers where there is a derisory number of square meters of green space per inhabitant. And fortant, we are going to build a mineral solarium, but how can we that?“
To compensate, Grand Paris Aménagement, the project manager, offers gardeners to move a little further to the allotment gardens of Pantin. David Lucas is the regional director of Grand Paris Aménagement: “We can accommodate gardeners who are going to be moved, by re-cultivating plots that have been abandoned or by assigning several gardeners plots of 500 or even 600 square meters which are too large to be cultivated.”
This solution is rejected by the gardeners, who will attack the building permit but also the PLU (Local Urban Plan) of the commune of Aubervilliers.