The Valentine Peace Project (VPP) is a developing social enterprise connecting individuals, communities, horticulture and the floral 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 Zimbabwe, Kenya, England, the Netherlands, Israel, Palestine, New Zealand and the US.
"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 aim to sell Dutch & US peace tulip bulbs around the International Day of Peace in September (the 21st). The VPP plans to design its own Valentine Peace tulip one day and produce bulbs as tools of trade for international peace organisations next to promoting community peace poetry gardens and the work of Fairtrade including conflict and post-conflict floriculture - a key industry for development.
As flowers helped evolve the planet it's time we used them to evolve ourselves - from conflict and poverty to justice and sustainability - from pure commercialism to purposeful products - gifts of love working for peace.
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 please contact us. If you are a retailer wanting creative horticultural peace products also contact us.
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
Before the close of the Age of Reptiles, there occurred a soundless, violent explosion.. It marked the emergence of the angiosperms—the flowering plants . . 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.
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You can view images of the project through the years at Valentinepeace.com