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Harvest Home is an organic store situated in the woods behind my home on the edge of Ashdown Forest. Known locally as “Dave in the woods”, it was begun in 1985 by Dave and his partner Jahnine.


A chance encounter - “it was almost like the place found us” - led Dave and Jahnine to the woods in their old ambulance, in which they initially lived until a cottage became available.  They worked for Phyllis, a wiry six foot vegetarian, in return for board and lodgings.  Dave began to grow organic vegetables to sell to provide his family with an income, guided by the principle of “feeding below the ground not just above”.


As well as nurturing life in the soil, hens are kept as an important part of the organic cycle.  They feed off leftovers from the shop, and in return they provide eggs for sale.  When the weather turns they are moved off their summer grass onto the vegetable beds, where their activity helps keep pests down.  This also allows their summer grazing area to recover.


Harvest Home is located in a small hamlet known as Jumpers Town, which was established as a Romani encampment in the 1820s.  Rumours of gypsy treasure buried on the forest still persist today, but the real bounty here is the quality of the produce nurtured by the “black gold” from Dave’s compost patch.


At the heart of the place is a strong commitment to sustainable organic values. These black and white photographs are my attempt to document the timeless feel of a location that at first viewing may seem to exist in the past, but with further consideration perhaps represents a more feasible future.

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