Fertile Disobedience: Off-gridders seek law change

Mark S Brown marksimonbrown at gmail.com
Sat Feb 1 07:11:45 GMT 2020

The "fertile disobedience" movement exists to link up back-to-nature 
enthusiasts with landowners willing to let them build dwellings on their 
Building societies that respect living things instead of destroying them. 
That's the idea behind the "fertile disobedience" movement. And it's the 
life that Jonathan and Caroline have chosen to raise their children.

*Off*-gridders seek law-change
by Regis Duvignau and Geert De Clercq; Writing by Geert De Clercq; editing 
by Mike Collett-WhiteJanuary 31, 2020*

CHASTEAUX: In a forested area in central France, a young couple lives 
off-grid in a wood-and-straw cabin. Their aim is not to hide *from the law*, 
but to *change* it.

Jonathan Attias, 33, and Caroline Perez, 34, are the driving force behind 
the "Desobeissance Fertile" (Fertile Disobedience) movement that links up 
back-to-nature enthusiasts with landowners willing to let them build 
dwellings on their land.

Mr Attias and Ms Perez built a cabin on a three-hectare plot shared with 
them by an older friend. Two other people also live on the site.

"We want to show that it is possible for people to live with and in 
nature", said Mr Attias, who gives legal and practical advice to people who 
want to live off-grid in cabins, yurts, tiny houses or other impermanent 

A year ago, the couple built their 'compostable' house with wood, stone, 
bales of straw and recycled materials like tarpaulins and old doors. When 
they leave, the house will biodegrade naturally.

But in France, like most of Europe, people are not allowed to build housing 
in forests or on agricultural land, only in designated housing areas and 
where they must respect building codes. Mr Attias wants to change that. "We 
will bring our case to the media and we want public debate, we want the law 
to change", he told Reuters.

His mayor disagrees.

"Everybody wants to change the law when it suits them. What they are doing 
is forbidden", said Jean-Paul Fronty, mayor of the village of Chasteaux, 
with 744 inhabitants.

Mr Attias and Ms Perez live in the woods by choice. Two years ago they were 
urban professionals in Paris. Mr Attias still teaches at a Paris university 
two days a month and works as a freelance journalist. Ms Perez is a doula 
who assists with childbirth.

They own a car, they have medical insurance and their 4-year old daughter 
goes to school in the village, a 3-kilometre walk from their cabin, which 
is heated with a cast-iron wood stove and powered by a solar panel.

Both vegetarians, they tend a big vegetable garden, but also get free 
unsold produce from a bio-store in the village. Water comes from a local 

"We are the guardians of the forest. We don't degrade our environment, we 
upgrade it", he said.


'Off-Grid' Couple Want to ‘Create Utopias’ With Their Tiny House Lifestyle

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