Vine and Fig Tree Garden


“Nonviolence is poetry. Poetry used here as the Greek poiesis: to make, to produce, to create. Poetry is not simply signs pointing at something else; it creates a whole world. By creating a new world, the poem disturbs, challenges, comforts and inspires. Poetry is direct action.”

“Poetic teaches us the technique of poetry: Show, don’t tell. Don’t explain, make it evident.”

“proactive resistance materializes visions and morals. This nonviolent incarnation happens inside military bases, companies, prisons. Nonviolence is to imprint.”

Quotes by Per Herngren


How Vine & Fig Tree Planters started:

Proactive civil disobedience without saying no: Vine and Fig Tree Planters arrested at Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston

In the early hours of Friday 5th August, 2005, nine peace gardeners from Europe and Australia planted vines and fig trees at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, UK. After five minutes Ministry of Defence police arrived and arrested all nine of the planters within the base on suspicion of criminal damage.

The previous day, Thursday 4th August, the gardeners had planted a vine and a fig tree outside the main gate of AWE Aldermaston and informed the authorities of their intention to return and continue the peaceful conversion of the base.

The four women and five men are currently being held at Newbury police station. They are: Sr Susan Clarkson (England), Per Herngren (Sweden), Mike Hutchinson (England), Barbara Smedema(Netherlands), Treena Lenthall (Australia), Martin Smedjeback (Sweden), Les Gibbon (England), Lizzie Jones (England) and Stephen Hancock (England).

Calling themselves the Aldermaston Vine & Fig Tree Planters, the group arrived at dawn, cut a gateway in the perimeter fence and entered carrying spades, trowels, watering cans, four vines and five fig trees. Having planted and watered the vines and fig trees, they offered their arresting officers a choice of grapes, fig rolls, grape juice or wine.

In a joint statement given to both workers at AWE Aldermaston and their arresting officers, the eleven say:
“On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the bombings of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we come to the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, UK, to plant vines and fig trees.

‘They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Instead, everyone shall sit underneath their vine and fig tree and none shall make them afraid.’ (Micah 4:3)

Disarmament, economic conversion and nonviolence are vital ingredients for creating a just world in which everyone enjoys the earth’s abundance.

In these fearful, suspicious times, we invite people all around the world to transform military bases into gardens of peace in which beauty and life shall flourish.”

June 26, 2008

SAAB Microwave Becoming2 Ploughshares
disarmed military radar and parts of Test Range at SAAB Micowaves in Sweden – Thursday June 26, 2008

Per Herngren and Ulla Røder climbed over the fence at SAAB Microwave’s test range at Mölndal, Sweden on the evening of June 26, 2008, and planted fig trees in the area around the factory.  Using blacksmith hammers, they started to disarm military radar and parts of the test range.  They spoke to workers and guards about their intent until police arrived and arrested them half an hour later.

Read more
of the ploughshares action

August 6, 2007

On eve of the 62nd anniversary of the bombing of the people of Hiroshima, the ‘Vine & Fig Tree Planters’ went to the Saab Microwave factory at Mölndal, Sweden to plant more vine and fig trees. Read Les’ story!

Liz Jones imprisoned for seven days by Reading Magistrates’ Court for refusal to pay compensation for her planting.

Liz’s art exhibition in Southamton, England, October 2006 on vine and fig tree planting.

Six arrested planting vine & fig tree on Ericsson arms factory at Easter 2006
They planted a vine by the fence, then climbed over and continued the planting of fig trees and vines on a green area by one of Microwave’s buildings outside Gothenburg in Sweden.

Transforming a trial to a constructive art workshop
Trial and Hope & Resistance Festival
February 7-9 in Newbury Court, England
Sentence February 9: Four weeks prison, suspended six month until Nagasaki day August 9, and £201 restitution for the Vine & Fig Tree Planters. All planters refused to pay restitution.

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