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Growing Point is the Eden Project's new state-of-the-art plant nursery complex, located in Eden's outer estate close to Eden's Biomes.
The nursery is a demonstrator of regenerative sustainability and circular systems in both its construction and operation. Built from light, recyclable materials, it harvests rainwater from the sky and heat from the earth.
Although the nursery is still in the final stages of being completed, initial operations began in June 2023. Growing Point will enable Eden’s Living Landscapes Team to produce all the plants for the Rainforest Biome, Mediterranean Biome, Outdoor Gardens, retail outlets and for local supply, as well as food for the thousands of visitors that Eden welcomes every year – all with food metres rather than food miles and little or no packaging.
The nursery will eventually produce over one million plants per year, in an energy-efficient, climate positive way using peat-free composts, recycled and recyclable pots and no pesticides.
The nursery has been designed so that it harvests water from the roof, pouring it into a giant pond bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool. This will be used to water the plants.
A 3.8km pipeline has been installed, linking to the nearby Eden Geothermal plant which harnesses naturally occurring energy from the hot rocks deep underground.
The nursery is designed to be half heated and half unheated, with the heated part being powered by this sustainable energy. This geothermal heating system was completed in June 2023, and will enable Eden to grow many varieties of crops on a commercial scale, including bananas, garlic and ginger.
Having a nursery at Eden means crops can be harvested on the day they are needed and be delivered in minutes to food preparation areas, greatly reducing transit distance, time and the need for packaging. Eden will be able to supply more home-grown produce such as herbs, vegetables, salads, fruits and spices to its catering outlets, with the added benefit of supplying speciality foods that would otherwise have to be imported.
Growing Point provides a new home to the National Wildflower Centre – a body transforming areas of land with wildflower planting around the UK. The nursery facilitates bigger and more advanced seed processing and storage facilities.
There are spaces for a new lab and learning facilities for students and apprentices, as well as a new home for the Chaos group, a Community Interest Company (CIC) which aims to help people with learning disabilities and mental health issues to develop work and social skills.
The nursery has been built to high standards of sustainable design and construction, with materials sourced locally, using by-products of industrial processes where possible.
Included in the build is rubble collected from cliff falls which happened during heavy rainfall and floods in 2020, bamboo canes cut down from the Rainforest Biome plus granite and limestone excavated from the rainwater collection pond.
“We are determined that the new greenhouse and education facility will be the embodiment of our regenerative sustainability and systems approach to development and a means to explore and understand how natural ecosystems are interconnected as part of a circular economy.”