The Eden Project is a place that looks like it’s from the X Files; a place where they might well be breeding killer bees or a new alien colony. In fact, it’s a curious regeneration experiment in Cornwall, and this is my 4th visit. I’ve seen it in every stage, from a building site to a flourishing success.
This particular visit is for my Sustainability course. The Eden Project flooded very badly a few years ago and we were there to learn about how they deal with that here and in the surrounding Cornish towns.
But what is this experiment for? The Eden Project is an educational charity. The site is a former quarry, and the creators of Eden wanted to see if it was possible to turn this dead land into something that could support life again. They created two ‘biomes’, a tropical one and a mediterranean one. Inside the tropical dome, which is as hot and humid as any jungle, they can grow bananas, coffee, rubber and bamboo. In the mediterranean dome they grow chillies, olives and vines.
There’s even a mediterranean restaurant inside, serving delicious Paella in a beautiful climate no matter what misery is going on outside. It happened to be a nice sunny afternoon while we were there which added to the atmosphere.
The Eden Project also run other types of experiments. They recently ran an extremely successful crowdfunder campaign raising £1.5m in a day to turn some farmhouses into classrooms while generating renewable energy to increase each backer’s return on investment. There are also plans to build a geothermal electricity plant, as Cornwall is one of the only places in the UK with potential for geothermal energy.
It’s a unique day out and I definitely recommend taking a look if you’re in Cornwall.