Runnymede Eco-Village on Cooper’s Hill Lane, located about an hour from London near the site where the Magna Carta was signed, was founded in 2012 by a group of land activists known as the “Diggers.” Modeling themselves after the Diggers of 1649 who seized land they planted and cultivated in common, today’s Diggers create self-sustaining communities on open land, free of charge, and live away from mainstream society, in hopes of reconnecting with the enviroment. Photojournalist Daniella Zalcman found the Runnymede activists just as they were facing eviction from their 24-acre plot of land. She plans to continue documenting their village as part of a long-term project on alternative living communities.
Zalcman writes, “They all came for different reasons. Some were homeless before they found this self-sustaining community. Others gave up houses and nine-to-five jobs to join. The residents are attempting to question the conventions of consumerism, land ownership and the right to natural resources. And for them, the village seems to have provided an answer.”
Portions of her project, “How To Make The Wasteland Grow” has been published online with the BBC, The Guardian, The Washington Post and Mashable. Zalcman is based in London and New York, and her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TIME, Sports Illustrated, and CNN, among other publications, and she’s been awarded multiple grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.