History

The Eden Project 

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. 

We are inspired by the belief that people are more than capable of changing things for the better, and through creating Eden we’ve learnt what ingenuity, resourcefulness, hope and determination can do.  

Through Eden Project Communities we support ordinary people to do extraordinary things as they build their skills and confidence to create positive change where they live.

The Eden Project story is one of transformation and hope, so in 2009 we decided to try a little experiment: to see what the transformative effect of getting to know our neighbours might be…. that little experiement was The Big Lunch.

The Big Lunch

The story of The Big Lunch began by encouraging as many people as possible to have lunch with their neighbours one Sunday in June. We’ve seen the number of people participating grow ten-fold since that first event in 2009, and an average of 6 million people take to their streets, gardens and community spaces each year to join in.

Community Camp and The Network 

Then the people who joined in started asking for ideas and support so they could do more. In 2013 we created Big Lunch Extras. These people joined us for Community Camp events at Eden, with loads of talks, workshops, activities, ideas, resources and plenty of like-minded people to network with. Today we support an amazing network of everyday people doing extraordinary things —all over the UK.

'I started to believe that what I do is important, it does matter and I do make a positive difference to my community. I felt really valued and empowered and was filled with enthusiasm to do things even better.'

Where we are today 

People just like you are hosting Big Lunches and delivering ideas and projects that make a positive difference to the communities where they live. With over 91,000 Big Lunches in 2019 alone, and over 1,500 people through our Community Camps so far, we feel pretty hopeful about continuing the transformation! 

‘I am part of a movement! There are lots of people doing great things, who are inspiring and strong and motivational — I feel reinvigorated!’ Madeleine Ellis-Peterson

You can find out more about the big impact our work has had on communities across the UK here