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Update on the situation at Grignon

27 February 2024 Press releases
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1. Facts about the situation at Grignon

For the second time since the start of 2024, the subject of Grignon is back in the news. After the developer Altarea had its appeal rejected earlier this month, the estate is now back in the news, as it has been chosen by the State to accommodate 195 people from Mayotte (out of a total of 308 evacuated to mainland France on Sunday February 25). According to our information, these are women and children evacuated from the Cavani camp, where they had been living for several months in insalubrious conditions, and in a Mayotte context that is complex on many levels.

These people all come from East African countries (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi), and all have asylum seeker status, as political refugees. A year ago, from December 2022 to May 2023, several dozen homeless people were housed on the Grignon estate, as part of the "Grand Froid" plan launched by the then Minister of Housing, Olivier Klein. This first experience took place in an atmosphere of calm and solidarity, and none of the inhabitants of the village of Grignon reported the slightest problem.
The 195 people arriving in Grignon at the beginning of this week will, as last year, be hosted by the Emmaüs Solidarités association, as requested by the mayor of Thiverval-Grignon Nadine Gohard. As a reminder, and contrary to what most articles and comments are saying, the accommodation will be in the Olmer and Ratineau student residences (empty since 2022), and not in the château. Below you'll find a press review of the latest news.
2. Our position on the future of the estate
We have every confidence in Emmaus and the Prefecture to ensure that this reception goes as smoothly as possible, as was the case last year. However, this should not prevent the Ministry of Agriculture from making a decision. A month ago, the Inspectors General's mission on the future of the estate delivered its report, proposing a legal framework that will enable us to envisage a co-built project on the site. The old quarrels over Grignon within the administration must come to an end, and we hope that this heritage will finally be considered as an asset at the service of the twofold challenge facing agricultural and food systems: climate change and the collapse of biodiversity.
As Ms. Gohard, with whom we work closely, reminds us:"I don't think and I don't want this site to become a host site every year, because that's not its destiny. It's a prestigious site which, until now, has been dedicated to agronomy. It has been a school for 200 years, and the history of the village is intrinsically linked to the history of this school of agronomy, and I hope that this site will become a project of general interest, of defense of agriculture, agronomy and the environment". This position was once again unanimously endorsed by the town council last December.
In view of the crisis facing the agricultural world, our community is calling for the urgent creation of this international center for the ecological transition of agricultural and food systems, and for it to be housed at Grignon. This is a unique opportunity to bring people together in this emblematic location. The decision is now a political one, as there are no longer any legal constraints on making a decision. [Concluding sentence: "Let our voice be heard - available to ministers - to be completed]".