[Series] Recovery plan: fight against the artificialization of land

Audio 02:58

Denis Rabourdin (bottom left) president of the association Verger vivant de Lieusaint, and other members during an apple picking.

The association wants to save this orchard which must be destroyed and then replaced by offices and warehouses.

RFI / David Baché

By: David Baché

7 min

The government has provided in its recovery plan 2.5 billion euros to promote the preservation of cultivation areas, often threatened with concreting.

This is precisely the case with the Lieusaint orchard, located about thirty kilometers from Paris.


It's picking day, there are every day and you have to work extra hard


We are here to save this territory so that it is not concreted like everywhere else

 ”, hopes Claire, a resident of Lieusaint, in Seine-et-Marne.

Like her, there are more than 150, mobilized to save their orchard: nearly two hectares, planted with 3,500 apple trees.

The orchard was bought several years ago from a farmer by a public institution responsible for the development of the area.

This establishment authorizes the association to continue to exploit the apple trees, while waiting to replace them by offices and warehouses.


We are trying to ensure that these apples benefit the population.

We go through food aid associations to which we give the fruits we have picked.

There, we have a big goal

: to squeeze apples to make juice sold at the lowest possible price

 ”, says Denis Rabourdin, president of the association Verger vivant de Lieusaint.

Then add: “ 

It's a local power solution.

It is more important for me to have an orchard than to have a warehouse.


► See also

: In France, the economic recovery plan greeted with caution


Keeping a“ country spirit ”in a new town


In 30 years, the population of the town has multiplied by six, and the surrounding crops have gradually given way to housing, roads, shops.

Dominique Vérots, the mayor of Saint-Pierre-du-Perray, is obviously keen to develop his territory.

However, he supports the protection of the orchard.


I need economic development, but I also need these orchards so that people continue to keep this 'country spirit' in a new city.

People settle down because they just find this green side.

They want to return to these values ​​while having the capabilities of a large city

: sports facilities, cultural facilities… All of this, they want, but they also want green spaces and agricultural spaces,

 ”notes the mayor. .

Towards an alternative solution


The problem is that the orchard has already been sold to a commercial developer,

by the EPA Sénart

, the public establishment in charge of the development of the area.

Ollivier Guilbaud, deputy director of the EPA, nevertheless remains open to an alternative solution.


The proposal that can be made is to keep part of the orchard, and [reconstitute part of the orchard] in another place, more accessible for schoolchildren, and also allowing to be more ambitious, with shared gardens, car parks, on a perimeter that would be of similar size, or even slightly larger,

 ”he suggests.

To implement this plan B, which would save the orchard without jeopardizing the construction of offices, a funding request has just been sent to the State, based on the stated objectives of the economic recovery plan.


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