Make your community greener

Creating biodiverse spaces are good for people, communities and our planet.

A man planting shrubs in a concrete urban environment

Studies show that spending time outside has a positive impact on mental and physical health, while communal green spaces bring people together.

What’s more, nature helps communities to be more resilient to severe weather – trees lower the temperature of urban areas in heatwaves, while plant roots absorb water in torrential rain and absorb carbon from the atmosphere.

We’re here to help you make your community greener and more environmentally friendly. We’ve got both practical advice for planting from the experts at Eden Project and advice from our Communities team on how to bring your community along with you.

Remember, small changes can have a big impact!

Involve your community Ideas for green spaces


0 %

of Big Lunch participants are more likely to get involved in actively supporting nature and the environment*

0 %

of Big Lunch participants are now more appreciative of the importance of having green spaces and protecting nature*

0 %

of respondents say spending time in nature lifts their mood*

*after The Big Lunch 2023

*Eden Project Nature Connections Survey (January 2024)

 


52 sustainable little swaps

As communities and individuals, we need to reduce our impact on the planet, which can feel quite daunting. But being sustainable doesn’t need to be a huge life overhaul.

We asked our community to share their easiest sustainable swaps. Here are 52 little swaps you can make to be more sustainable, suggested by people just like you. Why not aim for one swap a week?

How to involve your community

Involving your community in creating and maintaining green spaces can help people appreciate your local area more. Often it just takes one person to lead the way and start something, and others will follow.

  • Team up with a neighbour and add some planters with bulbs to your street or alleyway. Encourage others to do the same by sharing photos in your neighbourhood WhatsApp or adding a little sign. You could always make extra and gift them to your neighbours – a brilliant way to do something nice whether you’re friendly with them or not!

 

  • Host a planting day in your community. Gather together some bulbs, compost and a variety of pots and planters (you can often find them for free on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace). You can use plastic bottles cut in half as makeshift trowels, or pierce some holes in the bottom to create a watering can. Do a couple of demonstrations, then set people off planting!

 

  • Organise a community litter pick. Gather some litter pickers and high vis jackets and head out to tidy up your local area. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbours and just an hour can have a big impact. 

 

  • Look to see if any conservation charities, ‘Friends of’ park groups or allotments are looking for volunteers. They often offer practical volunteering days bringing together like-minded people in the community to do tasks such as tree-planting, cutting back and more. 
Woman swinging child around at a Big Lunch, with a marquee and people chatting in the background.

The greenest Big Lunch yet…

This year, we’re planning to make The Big Lunch our greenest yet! We’ve got loads of easy ways to help make this happen, from simple sustainable swaps to ideas you can take forward in your community.

The first step to organising your Big Lunch is to sign up for your free pack. It’s full of handy downloadable resources.

Get your free pack

Dame Prue Leith launches the greenest Big Lunch yet!
Plate to planet graphic

Plate to Planet – inspiring food connections

Listen to our new podcast

What we eat has a big impact on our planet. We’ve brought together the best foodie-minds from Eden and WWF-UK to chew over some of the biggest food challenges we’re facing today and look at how small changes can make a big difference.

This year’s Big Lunch is the greenest yet and we’re working with WWF-UK to champion low-cost sustainable dishes that are good for the planet. So, pop on the kettle, grab a bite, and join us for a conversation that’s both delicious and meaningful.

Listen below, or search ‘Plate to Planet’ on Spotify, Amazon Music or Deezer!

Listen now


How to be more eco-friendly

Making our communities more nature-friendly is just one of many ways we can make a positive change for our planet.

Recycling household items through community events and crafting sessions is a wonderful way to reduce waste and bring people together. Read our swishing top tips to help you hold a clothes-swapping event, cut down on your carbon footprint by organising a walking bus or set up a community food project to help reduce food waste.

Our community garden started with just one plant, in one pot, placed in the corner of what was then a neglected patch of paving slabs – allocated by the council for the storage of our wheelie bins, but otherwise totally ignored and unloved.

Kathryn

Top tips from community gardener Kathryn

One plant pot was our starting point – a sign that we’d already begun creating a garden, and an invitation to others to get involved.

Start with what you have

You don’t need fancy planters, raised beds or a collection of tools to get started. You need something to hold soil (tyres, old furniture, or a bag for life will do), a growing medium (might a neighbour have a compost heap you could dig from?), and something to grow (seeds are cheap, cuttings are free, and you’ll often find spare seedlings looking for a home in late spring). 

Ask for help

I popped a note through my neighbours’ doors, asking for their permission to grow on our shared space, and for their help to do so.

Kathryn Welch holding a sign that says 'someone should do something'

 

Find all the freebies you can

Gumtree’s freebies page, Facebook marketplace, Freecycle, and our local Tool Library all proved to be invaluable sources of free materials for the garden. Our garden backs onto a road, so putting up handmade signs (‘We need plant pots! Do you have any spare we could have?’) often meant I arrived at the garden to find a pile of new donations. 

Share

It was important to me that the garden belonged to everyone. That meant lots of signs inviting people to come in, cut herbs, pick vegetables etc., an ‘open gate’ policy that trusted people not to ruin what we’d created, and a regular practice of giving away anything surplus we had to share. Once, a little girl I’d never met gave me a tour of ‘her’ garden, which felt like the ultimate marker of shared ownership.

Make a start

You don’t need to have all the answers, or be granted formal permission, or constitute a group, or secure funding. Some of those things may come in time (or they might not), but to begin, you just need one plant, one pot, one conversation. Make a start, learn as you go, invite others to join you. And enjoy it – some of my happiest times have been spent in the garden, chatting to new friends, making beauty where before there were only bins.


Listen to these tips instead:

On the left hand side is an enclosed area of patio next to a road. Weeds are growing in the cracks and the space looks unused and unloved. On the right is the same space, but it's now filled with colourful planters and upcylced items. The patio is free of weeds and it's a pleasant space to look at.
The community garden in Kathryn’s neighbourhood – before and after.
Etheline in front of a 'Ground to table project' sign, beaming at the camera and sitting amongst plans. There is a small scarecrow to her right.

Grow your own

February through to spring is the perfect time to grow your own food, ready for your Big Lunch in June! With a bit of planning and preparation now, you can get ready to cook up a feast come the summer!

We’ve put together our guide of what to plant and when to help you get started.

Grow your own food

Hoping to set up a community garden?

If you’re hoping to set up a community garden, shared allotment or other bigger nature project, we’re here to support you. Community gardens can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from parks to roof gardens to flowerbeds on city pavements. Read our guide to setting one up below.


We can help you

If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with your local Community Network Developer. They can give you advice and tips and put you in touch with other people who have done something similar!