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Off the Grid

2011-2014 - France
The movement for 'de-growth', or to live off the grid, standing up against the consumer society and its destructive nature, appeals to more and more citizens. To go back to a simpler life in the countryside, reconnected to the nature, is a noticeable trend, worldwide, especially in the so-called developed world, or Western world societies. Condemning the waste economy, the ideology of perpetual growth… those opting for this radical way of life display all shapes and tints but are undeniably linked by a same thought: our world is heading straight into an abyss and it's urgent to change our economic system. Most of them take up to agriculture and become neo-farmers. They repopulate some villages - most of them have become ghost towns in France nowadays - want to eat all organic, re-establish true and profound human relationships… In short all those things life in the city has rendered challenging if not impossible. /.../
Personal projects
/.../ The strange feeling when observing this movement is that it seems to be both living in the past and in the future. It celebrates the good old times, the one before mechanization and automation, nurturing a great nostalgia for a world where plastic, planned obsolescence, intensive farming did not exist. And it also brings up ideas making great sense for a better future of our developed societies. Because we clearly cannot go on as we have since industrial revolution. Many people agree on this, but few have the guts to take the plunge so as to tune to these ideas. The movement, in its large diversity, also shelters lost souls and jobless people prefering to be in a rural misery rather than an urban poverty, and politicized radicals finding there a good reason to live and fight for a greater cause. The latter have definitely found a political cause worth fighting for, and those fights will no doubt multiply in the future.

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Causse cevenol region, a plateau in one of the wildest region in France. Cevennes, France, 2011.
Young couple has just moved in the region, where they could buy an old half ruined house thanks to savings. They want to produce food and breed goats. Cevennes, France, 2012.
Barbecue in the wild with friends and villagers. Cevennes, France, 2011.
Organic food from the garden. Cevennes, France, 2012.
Young couple has just moved in the region, where they could buy an old half ruined house thanks to savings. They want to produce food and breed goats. Cevennes, France, 2012.
Killing the pig in a village in Lozere region. European norms ban this practice out of a registered slaughterhouse, but these people don’t want to be told how they have to live. Cevennes, France, 2012.
Killing the pig in a village in Lozere region. European norms ban this practice out of a registered slaughterhouse, but these people don’t want to be told how they have to live. Cevennes, France, 2012.
Louise is English and her life path took her in this valley through a music band. She bought a ruin and revamped it bit by bit. She just opened a homestay where she provides visitors with local grown products. Cevennes, France, 2012.
A young girl, in her twenties, after being brought up in a capital city, decided to settle in the countryside. She has tried many things for a living and finally got to make natural fruit juices from the abandonned orchards she could find in the region. The older people appreciated this young and newcomer initiative. Hautes Alpes, France, 2011.
ZAD (Zone To Protect) of Decines, where the mega project of the Parc Olympique Lyonnais’s stadium is planned. Young people occupy the land in protest against urban sprawl, big infrastructure projects said to be useless, and against the artificialisation of all farmng or natural lands. As in the struggle at Notre Dame des Landes, they want to create a self-sufficient camp and a political space rebelling against politicians and the current neo liberal capitalist system. Police forces are set to drive them out soon. Decines, France, april 2013.
ZAD (Zone To Protect) of Decines, where the mega project of the Parc Olympique Lyonnais’s stadium is planned. Young people occupy the land in protest against urban sprawl, big infrastructure projects said to be useless, and against the artificialisation of all farmng or natural lands. As in the struggle at Notre Dame des Landes, they want to create a self-sufficient camp and a political space rebelling against politicians and the current neo liberal capitalist system. Police forces are set to drive them out soon. Decines, France, april 2013.
ZAD (Zone To Protect) of Decines, where the mega project of the Parc Olympique Lyonnais’s stadium is planned. Young people occupy the land in protest against urban sprawl, big infrastructure projects said to be useless, and against the artificialisation of all farmng or natural lands. As in the struggle at Notre Dame des Landes, they want to create a self-sufficient camp and a political space rebelling against politicians and the current neo liberal capitalist system. Police forces are set to drive them out soon. Decines, France, april 2013.
Protest march in the city then attempt to create a new ZAD (Zone To Protect) by leftists and environmentalit activists against a new road connection project. As a symbol they start today to occupy the project land and launch a cultivation movement. Zadists stand up against the unstoppable urban sprawling and concreting of agricultural lands, which are becoming a threatened natural ressource, and to advocate an alternative way of life, slower, economically anti neoliberal, and re-connected to simple values as true peasantry and a sustainable food chain. They all refuse to serve a consuming society which according to them has gone mad. Avignon, France, april 2013.
Protest march in the city then attempt to create a new ZAD (Zone To Protect) by leftists and environmentalit activists against a new road connection project. As a symbol they start today to occupy the project land and launch a cultivation movement. Zadists stand up against the unstoppable urban sprawling and concreting of agricultural lands, which are becoming a threatened natural ressource, and to advocate an alternative way of life, slower, economically anti neoliberal, and re-connected to simple values as true peasantry and a sustainable food chain. They all refuse to serve a consuming society which according to them has gone mad. Avignon, France, april 2013.
A festive week-end where visitors were invited to plant potatoes. Tatiana (on the swing), in her twenties, has just finished her studying as an agricultural engineer. She is one of the permanent illegal occupiers of this recently sold out farm in Normandy region, the Ferme des Bouillons, near Rouen city. This beautiful and typical farm dating from the 18th century, and its agrarian land around had to be destroyed to make room for the second biggest French agrifood business company. A supermarket would certainly have come up here. This group of young activists then started to occupy the building in december 2012, put the agricultural activities back on track, and mobilised a lot into the civil society through social networks and special week-ends when supporters can come and visit as well as take part to the activities, like planting vegetables. Mont Saint Aignan, France, April 2013.
A festive week-end where visitors were invited to plant potatoes. Sacha is one of the permanent illegal occupiers of this recently sold out farm in Normandy region, the Ferme des Bouillons, near Rouen city. This beautiful and typical farm dating from the 18th century, and its agrarian land around had to be destroyed to make room for the second biggest French agrifood business company. A supermarket would certainly have come up here. This group of young activists then started to occupy the building in december 2012, put the agricultural activities back on track, and mobilised a lot into the civil society through social networks and special week-ends when supporters can come and visit as well as take part to the activities, like planting vegetables. Mont Saint Aignan, France, April 2013.
Anti Mulliez rally. Organised by 4 citizen activist groups all opposed to the paving over of agricultural lands and never ending urban sprawl, and to the demolition of farms for building supermarkets by the Auchan agribusiness brand, which belongs to the extremely rich Mulliez family (they own over 70 famous brands among which Decathlon, Leroy Merlin, Pizza Hut). Moreover they are based in the infamous French tax dodgers village of Nechin, Belgium. About 200 protesters walked 8 kilometers from the city of Roubaix, France where the Mulliez group has its headquarters, informing the population on the way, to Nechin, Belgium, where they were stopped by a Belgian police line before they reached their target. France – Belgium, May 17th, 2014.
Anti Mulliez rally. Some protesters forced their way through the police line. Organised by 4 citizen activist groups all opposed to the paving over of agricultural lands and never ending urban sprawl, and to the demolition of farms for building supermarkets by the Auchan agribusiness brand, which belongs to the extremely rich Mulliez family (they own over 70 famous brands among which Decathlon, Leroy Merlin, Pizza Hut). Moreover they are based in the infamous French tax dodgers village of Nechin, Belgium. About 200 protesters walked 8 kilometers from the city of Roubaix, France where the Mulliez group has its headquarters, informing the population on the way, to Nechin, Belgium, where they were stopped by a Belgian police line before they reached their target. France – Belgium, May 17th, 2014.
Anti Mulliez rally. Some protesters forced their way through the police line. One was arrested and handcuffed. His fellows try to set him free. He will be released 15 minutes later when the protestors walked back behind the police line. Organised by 4 citizen activist groups all opposed to the paving over of agricultural lands and never ending urban sprawl, and to the demolition of farms for building supermarkets by the Auchan agribusiness brand, which belongs to the extremely rich Mulliez family (they own over 70 famous brands among which Decathlon, Leroy Merlin, Pizza Hut). Moreover they are based in the infamous French tax dodgers village of Nechin, Belgium. About 200 protesters walked 8 kilometers from the city of Roubaix, France where the Mulliez group has its headquarters, informing the population on the way, to Nechin, Belgium, where they were stopped by a Belgian police line before they reached their target. France – Belgium, May 17th, 2014.
Annoyed to be kept away from all political decisions in the municipality, the inhabitants of this small village (1199 people), highly repopulated by neo-rurals, in the charming region of Drome, conducted a citizen’s list at the latest municipal elections in april 2014. Against all odds, especially from the outgoing mayor Francois Pegon (right wing) who was preparing to run a second mandate, this non politically careerist list won. The poll generated the impressive figure of 80 of participation. No leader on the electoral was ever mentioned, and it is after the victory that Vincent Beillard was unanimously chosen for his supposed human qualities and abilities to lead. It is a victory for participatory democracy in a time of growing mistrust for careerist politics. Saillans, France, April 2014.
The river banks are a little paradise for the numerous parents and their children. The neo-rural population inverted the rural exodus and allowed the village to gain 25pc more people over a decade. Annoyed to be kept away from all political decisions in the municipality, the inhabitants of this small village (1199 people) in the charming region of Drome, conducted a citizen’s list at the latest municipal elections in april 2014. Against all odds, especially from the outgoing mayor Francois Pegon (right wing) who was preparing to run a second mandate, this non politically careerist list won. The poll generated the impressive figure of 80 of participation. No leader on the electoral was ever mentioned, and it is after the victory that Vincent Beillard was unanimously chosen for his supposed human qualities and abilities to lead. It is a victory for participatory democracy in a time of growing mistrust for careerist politics. Saillans, France, April 2014.
Carole, Jeremie and their daughter Naya, have settled in the village in october 2013. The neo-rural population inverted the rural exodus and allowed the village to gain 25pc more people over a decade. Annoyed to be kept away from all political decisions in the municipality, the inhabitants of this small village (1199 people) in the charming region of Drome, conducted a citizen’s list at the latest municipal elections in april 2014. Against all odds, especially from the outgoing mayor Francois Pegon (right wing) who was preparing to run a second mandate, this non politically careerist list won. The poll generated the impressive figure of 80 of participation. No leader on the electoral was ever mentioned, and it is after the victory that Vincent Beillard was unanimously chosen for his supposed human qualities and abilities to lead. It is a victory for participatory democracy in a time of growing mistrust for careerist politics. Saillans, France, April 2014.
Gerard and Solange, hippies ever since the sixties, in the dining room of their-self-built house. Dordogne, France, 2014.
Family house of Belgian people who left their country years ago in search of another lifestyle, in the Gard region. Cevennes, France, 2012.
Off the Grid. In the National Park of the Cevennes region, in Lozere. Cevennes, France, 2012.

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