Green and Away is a temporary, sustainable eco-camp not far from the foot of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire that’s active every June and July. It’s off-grid, there are compost loos, water is piped from the nearby river and heated with wood fires for al-fresco showering, plus all the food is locally sourced, organic and vegetarian (though the nearby garage at the top of the lane does fantastic ‘breakfast-bomb’ scotch eggs, if you get meat cravings). It was originally conceived of more than 25 years ago as a conference centre for businesses and organisations that didn’t feel a hermetically sealed hotel would be the right kind of venue in which to host their annual get-togethers.
I first stumbled upon the camp after WWOOFing on a herb farm in Norfolk one summer nearly a decade ago and was promptly invited along to ‘Herbfest’, the annual conference for the Society of Master Herbalists. Despite the rain, mud and the run-in with huge slugs while having ‘my angels read’ (no, I’m not really sure what that was all about either) in a geodesic dome, I was rather enamoured of the experience, so returned annually.
There’s a core of trustees and volunteers who remain fairly constant from year to year but the intern positions and the artist in residence change annually. The conferences and events are hosted by organisations like Resurgence Magazine, SusTrans, and the Ecopsychologists, but it was the on-site staff; the volunteers, trustees, interns and artists, that interested me most, so I set about documenting them.
Living outdoors in a field behind a garage and down a lane for forty days and nights of the summer is a joy and a challenge in equal measure, and watching the bonds form (and break) between people, the fun, laughter, the make-do-and-mend approach to everyday tasks, the singing, home-made musical instruments and the good, wholesome entertainment devised.