What is Eden about?
The Eden Project connects us with each other and the living world.
The Eden Project, an educational charity and social enterprise, creates gardens, exhibitions, art, events, experiences and projects that explore how people can work together and with nature towards a better future. Our first project was to make a 35-acre global garden in a 50m-deep crater that was once a china clay pit to demonstrate regeneration and the art of the possible.
The Living Theatre of Plants and People
We called our HQ ‘the Living Theatre of Plants and People’ because in it we proudly present (and celebrate) our relationship with and dependence on plants: plants that feed us, clothe us, cure us, make and colour the fabric of our lives and even supply the very air we breathe.
This Living Theatre, nestled in the crater, is like a magical lost world. Hidden from view just below the lip of this giant pit, two vast covered Biomes house wild landscapes, crops and stories from the Rainforest and Mediterranean regions.
These bubble-shaped greenhouses serve as a backdrop to the Outdoor Gardens, which grow the plants from our own climate. The Link connects all three areas together and takes plant to plate with a range of delicious foods and drinks in the Eden Kitchen including of course a wide range of Pukka teas. Just outside the Link building you can immerse yourself in the stories of Pukka’s plants and their provenance inside our new giant Pukka tea box which we are having a great time putting together. It’s full of tales, tastes and a few surprises.
Plants are Eden’s lifeblood. The natural world is our life-support system. Each of our Biomes is divided into two main areas: wild landscapes and cropped areas.
Wild landscapes: Plants provide services. Worldwide, plant ecosystems regulate our climate, provide oxygen for us to breathe, purify water, make clouds, make soil and recycle waste. Plant leaves are the original solar panels. They capture the energy from the sun and combine it with water and carbon dioxide to make a type of sugar that all living things can then use as a source of energy and a building block for everything. Plants also provide inspiration for design, and generally help us feel good. At Eden we bring you wild landscapes from the American prairies to the largest rainforest in captivity.
Crops: Plants provide resources. They inhabit every part of our lives including our dreams, myths and stories. People grow crops and harvest from the wild to feed our needs. From tea and beans to denim jeans, we use plants for everything: foods, fuels, medicines, fabrics, building materials, musical instruments, sports equipment, transport, makeup, books, furniture, drinks, entertainment … You name it, they are usually in there somewhere. Even oil, petrol, coal and plastics have their origins in the plants of the seas and our great primeval forests.
Image captioned: Meet Dionysus, god of wine, holding court in the vines
Our exhibits explore the plant/people stories that reconnect us all to our world, to encourage us to care about it, not just because it’s amazing but because it keeps us alive. It’s also a shot over our bows: what we do to nature we do to ourselves. We need to crop the land responsibly and conserve the wild places.
We need to live in balance with this natural world to overcome some of the challenges we have imposed on it. As Douglas Adams (of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame) said: ‘The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.’ The team at Eden are inspired by the belief that people are more than capable of changing things for the better. In the last few years we have learnt what ingenuity, resourcefulness, hope and determination can do. As time goes by, and as we work with more like-minded people like the Pukka team we are able to show more new ways of doing things in the 21st century.