The Valentine Peace Project (VPP) is a developing enterprise connecting individuals, communities, schools, horticulture and trade to the creative work of peace.
The Project began more than five years ago as a larger heart themed Valentine's Day, spreading thousands of submitted original peace poems and wider reflections on love - from the US, Zimbabwe, Kenya, England, the Netherlands, Israel, Palestine and New Zealand.
"The world reflects back digging deep down inside . . The doors are open to a whole new store . . Cupid is here living with love . . Spread the care and feel for others . . Treat everyone as your brothers . . Away, away, away, peace is everywhere.” (Twelve year old's poem submission to the Project)
Next to promoting a Community Valentine in February we work to publicize the International Day of Peace (September 21). We promote community peace poetry gardens and the work of Fairtrade including conflict and post-conflict floriculture - a key industry for development. The VPP plans to design its own Valentine Peace tulip one day soon and also market bulbs as tools of trade for international peace organizations.
Peace is generally understood on three levels - inner, community and global and we aim to illuminate all three by inspiring poetry and art; education and awareness; transformative trade and new symbolism for global and local community.
"The purpose of activism and art is to make a world in which people are producers of meaning, not just consumers." Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark - The Untold History of People Power
If you are a teacher or community coordinator and would like to participate in a peace themed Community Valentine or Peace Garden for Peace Day please contact us. If you are a retailer wanting creative horticultural peace products also contact us.
And if you desire to be part of 'new institutions to match new cultural realities' (Occupied Times of London) - sign up for the newsletter on the right to keep posted: Building a Community Valentine and the International Day of Peace; spreading messages around the globe; and bringing the horticulture and international floral trade to the work of peace - a more expansive and connected expression of love.
Every country has a flower, every product a story, and every heart a message.
Photos of participants and recipients of flowers and poems in Amsterdam, San Francisco, and London
"Flowers changed the face of the planet. Without them, the world we know—even man himself—would never have existed." How Flowers Changed the World by Anthropologist and Scientist Loren Eiseley
"Nothing has been more moving to me than this desire, realized imperfectly but repeatedly, to connect across differences, to be a community, to make a better world, to embrace each other . . to something unprecedented, a beloved community that circles the globe."
* * *
Images from individuals and groups involved with the Project sharing their poems and flowers internationally are at Valentinepeace.com