Monday, March 30, 2009 - 11:52

World’s biggest ever invitation built from fruit and veg in London’s Covent Garden

The world’s biggest ever invitation has been built today in Covent Garden to announce the launch of The Big Lunch, the latest ambitious idea from the Eden Project, in partnership with MasterCard, and supported by EDF Energy and the Royal Mail Group. The massive temporary work of art invites everyone in the UK to come together to have lunch in their streets on one day in July. 

The edible 2,000 square foot invite was created using a staggering forty-three thousand seasonal fruit, flowers and vegetables.  This includes over eleven thousand parsnips, nine thousand cauliflowers and 80 bananas.

Clare Patey, the designer behind the gigantic invitation, was helped in the uild by volunteers from around the UK, who are all set to host Big Lunches of their own.  At the end of the build, the design was dismantled and produce given away to passers-by and local charities.

Taking place on 19 July, The Big Lunch aims to bring together as many of the 61 million people in the UK, to simultaneously eat lunch with their neighbours.  There are lots of ways for people to get involved, from growing their own food and flowers to forming a band or creating a piece of pavement art.

Paul Twivy, CEO of The Big Lunch, commented: “Let’s all express our talents, get over our embarrassment, shake hands and work with our neighbours and realise that the neighbourhood where we live is the biggest untapped source of happiness we possess. The way to tackle this recession and global warming is through Human Warming.”

Eden Project Chief Executive, Tim Smit, commented: “Imagine a summer's day on which millions of us, throughout the UK, sit down to have lunch together with our neighbours: in the middle of our streets, around our tower blocks and on every patch of common ground. The food, entertainment, music and decorations we will have grown, cooked, or created ourselves. This will be a day to break bread with our neighbours, to put a smile on Britain's face.”

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said: "The Big Lunch is a great opportunity for people to get together and spend time with their neighbours, friends and families. As well as being good fun, events like this help build stronger communities. It promises to be a great day and I hope one that will become an established date in the calendar."

Hany Fam, General Manager, UK & Ireland Markets, MasterCard commented: "The Big Lunch approached us because MasterCard understands that those special moments in life, such as turning your street into a neighbourhood, are inherently priceless. We are supporting the Big Lunch through a major advertising campaign in the run-up to 19 July and by mobilising our extensive network of employees, customers and partners to support the initiative. We believe that rediscovering a sense of community will help to connect Britons and make the country an even better place."

Martin Stead, Brand Director of EDF Energy commented: “EDF Energy is innovating for a low carbon future and enabling everyone to save today for a brighter tomorrow. Like Eden, we believe that social and environmental change go hand in hand. The Big Lunch will be vital in catalysing environmental actions by whole communities rather than just at individual household level.”

Kay Allen, Group Head of Social Policy and Inclusion for the Royal Mail Group stated, "The Royal Mail Group has a unique reach into every street and community in Britain and a long-standing heritage in community action. The Big Lunch enables our employees - who make up approximately 1% of the entire working population - to fulfil their roles in achieving greater social cohesion, especially in poorer or divided communities. Royal Mail Group is ultimately about 'Touching lives - Connecting people' and so is the Big Lunch."

The invitation calls on all Britons to hold their own Big Lunch on Sunday July 19, 2009. Visit for more information.