The Work

The Brighton & Hove area is crowded with incredible food and drink producers from people with a few tomatoes on a window ledge to vineyards producing world-class sparkling wines. The city also cares about what it eats. There are more restaurants per person than anywhere else in the country.

But there is a problem. Brighton & Hove cannot produce enough food to feed itself and the current food system is unsustainable. It is responsible for 25% of Brighton & Hove’s ecological footprint, higher than the UK average of 21%. All the food we consume has some environmental impact getting it from the field to the plate, including production, transport and packaging. One of the key objectives of the One Planet Food principle is to reduce the ecological impact of what the city eats.

In order to achieve this more food needs to be grown, produced and processed locally by methods that protect the environment and support local businesses and employment. Local food producers, from farmers and fishermen to bakers and cheese makers who work in ways that respect natural resources are at the forefront of the drive to build a more sustainable
food system.

Brighton & Hove was the first place in the UK to adopt a ‘Food Strategy’ with the aim of creating a city where everyone has the opportunity to eat
fresh, healthy food from sustainable sources. In order to make what Brighton eats sustainable the city has to capitalise on what it already has: the rich natural resources of the sea and surrounding farmland, vibrant cafes and restaurants, a young population keen to work, a thriving tourist industry, strong neighbourhoods and communities, and a growing network of community food projects.



This photo essay is generously sponsored by Green Sea Collective.

green sea logoHIGH RES Spot


The following building firms also greatly helped with the project:

Chalmers and Co Building Contractors

Hub Project Management and Consultancy

Filby Builders

Ark Builders and Loft Conversions

  • Mark, cheesemaker at High Weald Dairy cheese store. High Weald Dairy is a family run dairy, based on an organic dairy farm in West Sussex. They make a range of cow, sheep and goat milk cheeses. Cheeses will mature in the cheese store for up to five or six months.
  • Brighton Blue Cheese, High Weald Dairy. Brighton Blue is a newly created cheese. It has a slightly open, semisoft texture, with a mellow blue flavour and fragrant aroma. The piquant blue-green veins in the cheese deepen as the cheese matures and the strength of the blue will become stronger.
  • Cows lining up to be milked. The organic cow milk used by High Weald Dairy comes from the cows based on the farm. Cheese is made just 20 metres from where the cows are milked. The sheep milk is supplied by several local sheep farms, the largest milking over 700 ewes twice every day, and the goat milk comes from Kent.
  • Vegetables protected by fleece. The farm is located in sight of the South Downs, four miles west of Lewes in Plumpton, East Sussex. Special thermal insulation fleeces are breathable, let light and water through but at the same time insulate well and protect against excessive evaporation.
  • Peter, driving the tractor. Ashurst Organics grow more than 40 varieties of vegetable on fifteen acres to supply veg boxes to nearby towns and villages.

    When Peter and Collette Haynes took on Ashurst Farm they were able to obtain instant organic status from the Soil Association as the previous owners had never used chemicals or “any such nonsense” since 1945 (they had also been hand milking cows right up until 1993).

  • Ashurst Organics veg box. The box scheme has grown almost entirely by word of mouth and has thrived because of the support of its scheme members who feel as much a part of the land as those who have helped farm it.
  • Batch loaf tins. Infinity Foods began in 1971 as a small natural food shop and has now grown into the Southeast’s leading whole food company. The bakery has been going since 1974 and still uses traditional methods of pre-fermentation (using natural leavens) to maximise flavour and eliminate or reduce the need for added yeast.
  • Dough for a soughdough bread. “Just good ingredients, combined with skill and patience.” Providing a longer proving time allows a fuller flavour to develop and makes the bread more digestible.

    The flour is sourced from Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire, where traditional stone-grinding methods are used to produce flours of exceptional taste and nutrition.

  • Baker, Ian, loading ovens. Infinity Bakery’s small team of skilled bakers employ artisanal methods of baking to produce quality flavoursome bread. The bakers can be seen stocking the shelves with delicious, piping hot wares every morning in the shop.
  • Pink Oyster Mushrooms. Native to the tropics, especially Indonesia, the mushrooms grow like corals, creating uniquely shaped mushrooms that you won’t find in the supermarket.

    The oyster-shaped Pink Flamingo mushrooms grow in clusters like their grey and yellow relatives. Their colour is intensely pink when raw and changes to an orange brown when cooked.

  • Mushroom maker, Jon. Espresso Mushroom Company is a group of coffee drinking food lovers bringing you the ultimate in fresh, home-grown and sustainable product. Every year seven million tons of coffee grounds are discarded in Britain.

    Jon Coombs cycles to six or seven coffee shops around Brighton and Hove and collects roughly 200kg of discarded grounds twice a week.

  • Coffee collection for mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are fantastic to cook with. They have an enticing velvety appearance, smooth firm texture and a delicately rich flavour with a fresh peppery scent. This makes them an excellent ingredient for soups, risottos, casseroles or a luxurious mushrooms on toast.
  • Pat’s allotment. As well as growing most of her own fruit and veg, Pat saves seeds for her own use and to share with other gardeners. “Saving seeds is a way of maintaining our connection to the food we eat and keeping the sovereignty of food in our hands.”
  • Pat holding climbing French beans. Seeds are the fundamental unit of the food chain. In the past seed swapping was informal and benefitted everyone; guaranteeing seeds for the following year, increasing the range and quality of plants available and conserving and sharing species and varieties that were particularly locally adapted.
  • Pat, seed saver. In the last 40 years, there has been a shift to purchasing seeds annually from commercial seed suppliers and to homogenise plant strains. Much of the grassroots seed-saving activity today is the work of home gardeners like Pat. Peas and beans are probably the easiest way to start seed saving and sharing.
  • Daniel Hoeberichts of Orchard Eggs. In the orchard his chickens are free to roam. The orchard is the perfect environment to rear birds. Trees provide shelter, the biodiversity of the land provides the hens with food and in return the chickens provide manure to fertilise the soil, maximising the productivity of the orchard.
  • Orchard Eggs. The farm keeps small flocks of chickens in moveable houses throughout 60 acres of biodynamic orchard. They rear the hens from day one, without the use of any antibiotics and feed them a 100% organic grain diet which is locally sourced.

    The hens are Lohmann Browns as they have a friendly nature and produce excellent quality eggs.

  • As part of their high welfare standards policy, Orchard Eggs raise their hens together with cockerels. As natural leaders, cockerels protect the girls at all times, recreating a natural flock, guiding them to the best food and stimulating a healthy behaviour among them.
  • Stein Leenders and his colleagues at Brambletye Fruit Farm farm to strict biodynamic principles - meaning that the farm is a closed system, all farm outputs being fed back into the farming process. They also have beehives in the orchards which, aside from pollinating their fruit, produce some outstanding honey.
  • Stein Leenders holding honeycomb for his hives, Brambletye Fruit Farm.
  • Inside the Bee House at Brambletye Farm.
  • A rib of beef. Townings Farm is a traditional Low Weald family farm situated in the heart of the Sussex countryside, on the edge of the beautiful South Downs National Park. All of their produce comes from traditional breeds of cattle, sheep and pigs, reared using natural and organic methods.
  • The beef produced is from traditional Sussex Angus and Longhorn cattle. These breeds are renowned for their superior flavour, and are reared slowly and naturally on the farm. The family’s style of husbandry is rooted in the question, “Do I want to eat this?”

    By raising the stock with respect and care they have created a less intensive system, which contrasts starkly with the usual methods of meat raising.

  • The site has been continuously farmed since the 13th century. The tenancy was taken on by Kevin’s parents in the late 1950s; over the years they developed a dairy herd. Kevin was born at the farm where he has worked all his life.
  • Vera, foraging for wild strawberries in the wild flower meadows of Moulsecoomb Wild Park. Vera grew up in the Soviet Union, where even the most urbane urban dweller went on regular fishing trips and mushroom forays.

    Her grandparents taught her which berries to pick, which greens to gather and use for soup, and which trees nurtured the choicest mushrooms.

  • Wild Park is Brighton & Hove’s largest Local Nature Reserve. Situated about two miles from Brighton city centre, Wild Park is a sheltered, downland valley that has been preserved in its wild state, providing a natural habitat for an abundance of wildlife. The 90 Acre Park was opened in 1925.
  • Wild strawberries in the wild flower meadows of Moulsecoomb Wild Park. Evidence from archaeological excavations suggests that Wild Strawberries (Fragaria vesca) have been consumed by humans since the Stone Age.
  • Locally caught sea bass. Once there was only wild fish, but today most seabass sold in the UK is farmed in Greece or Turkey. During the summer months, running from May roughly through to the end of October, it is possible to catch seabass off the South coast.
  • Jason, fishmonger in Hove. Most of the fish on sale during the summer months is locally caught. Brighton and Newhaven Fish Sales was established as a fish market to serve the needs of the local fishing fleet in 1975 and has operated a fish market on their current site since 1989.
  • Fisherman’s marker buoys, Shoreham Harbour. Less than 40 small fishing boats operate out of Shoreham Harbour. Although small fishing boats account for 77% of the UK’s fishing fleet and 65% of full-time employment in the industry, they are allowed access to only 4% of the fishing quota.
  • Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market
  • Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market
  • Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market
  • Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market
  • Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market Sam Faulkner: Local and Sustainable Food at the Open Market
| of 35 Play |

The Photographer

Sam Faulkner

The day after my last exam, I threw a battered old Canon and a few rolls of Tri-X into a backpack and took a long route to Afghanistan. It was 1994. I didn’t really know what I was doing or where I was going. I hadn’t worked out how I was going to get into the country, let alone how I was going to get out. I wanted an adventure and to have a go at becoming a photographer. I slept under the stars, next to teenage killers who’d never met a foreigner before. At night we shared greasy mutton soup as we watched tracer rounds and rockets silently rain on distant Kabul. By day we toured the front lines south of the capital, crouched behind low mud walls as bullets whistled overhead. At times I wondered whether I really was just a guest. My hosts, a band of Mujahideen, linked to the murderous warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, seemed in no hurry to see me go and whenever we moved we went in convoy, billowing clouds of dust. I was utterly dependent upon them in a hostile, alien country. After about two weeks they drove me back to the Pakistan border. I had shot six rolls of film. But it was the start.

Today, I still get the same buzz arriving on assignment in a new country. My kit may be a bit fancier, the brief a bit tighter and the budget (hopefully) a bit more generous, but it is always a thrill to do this job. I began shooting my long term project Cocaine Wars in 2001 and the first few stories from the project won the Observer Hodge Award and got me on the Joop Swart World Press Photo Masterclass. Other prizes and grants include The Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship, The British Journal of Photography Project Assistance Grant, The Getty Grant for Good for work on female genital mutilation Mali and selection for last year’s Taylor Wessing exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

I live in London with my wife and our two young children.


Photographer Approach

I decided that I wanted to tell the stories of a few local food producers of varying sizes. It was important that the food was produced locally, had a sustainable ethos behind it and was for local consumption. I would normally find a single story and spend some time getting under the skin of the people, waiting to capture moments. It quickly became clear that really to do this project justice I would have to cast my net wide, include many different producers and unfortunately I would have to spend much less time than usual with each of them.

I also consider shooting for an exhibition to be different to say a job for a magazine. Before I shot a frame I came up with a clear plan of exactly how I was going to photograph the project. The idea was to create three specific images for each food producer that would create a series of triptychs that together cover many aspects of local and sustainable food production in and around Brighton & Hove. The first image was to be an environmental portrait of a producer or supplier. The second image is a shot of the same person holding their produce or an ingredient. The third image is an abstract detail or landscape shot of where the
product comes from. The result is that we almost have three different sets of pictures. Each set of three images is focused on the same subject and each image in the set is linked visually to an image in every other set.

I was very excited to create a body of work that is different to my usual reportage style. It isn’t often you have free rein to shoot a commission in any way you like.

View More

The exhibition

Exhibition Info

Dates: 01/10/2014 - 31/07/2015
Times: Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm, Friday – Saturday: 10am– 5pm. Please check the website for public holiday opening times.
Address: Open Market, Marshalls Row, Brighton, BN1 4JU
Link: Link

Open Market, London Road

Brighton’s iconic Open Market was reopened in 2014 after a £20 million redevelopment. It has been reborn as a modern shopping haven for those who care about the origins of the things they buy. With a strong focus on local producers and ethical products, the market traders bring a wide-ranging selection of produce and freshly prepared foods to the site, as well as an exceptional variety of arts, crafts, fashion, services, garden goods and more. The vision for the new Open Market is to have at its heart fresh, nutritious, local and quality food to reflect current concerns over health and environmental sustainability.

This community-led redevelopment was imagined by a group of long-time market traders in 2006. Their much loved market had fallen into a state of disrepair over the years but they still believed that, with the right support, it could return to its place at the heart of London Road. Thankfully the Council agreed and, with some key partners like Hyde Housing and Ethical Property Company, a plan was hatched, eventually resulting in the market that exists today.

Today, the market is curated by a Stall Allocation Committee, which assesses all trader applications, both permanent and temporary, to ensure that they align with the market’s ethical ethos. The market believes in supporting the community, and the makers, bakers, growers and creators that exist within it.

Access Information

How to get there:

Closest train station: Brighton

Closest buses: 5, 5A, 5B, 18, 20, 21, 21A, 21B, 22, 22A, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 29B, 37B, 38, 38A, 46, 48, 49, 50, 78, 79, 81, 81B (or closest main bus stops Preston Circus, St Peter’s Church – pls refer to

Cycle: racks nearby

Car: parking available nearby but not onsite

Wheelchair accessible: yes


One Planet City: Professional Commissions

Ten photo essays responding to the ten sustainability principles of One Planet Living with ten site-specific installations in public spaces across Brighton & Hove.