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Global  Valentine

From 2006 to 2012 thousands upon thousands of roses, carnations and other flowers (working with FTD, Fairtrade GF-Trading, One World Flowers, the Dutch Flower Council and local sources) were passed out mostly attached to hundreds of received original poems from around the world (small sampling here) to cities such as Amsterdam, San Francisco, Swansea (Wales), Berlin, Antwerp (Belgium), Los Angeles, The Hague, Chicago, London and locations in Australia and Canada.

 

Flowers were sourced from the Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Palestine and Colombia. Some poems were collected from farm workers and their children in Zimbabwe and Kenya. Participants included schools, poets, volunteers, peace organizations, parks, gardens, artists, community organizations and families or individuals who simply heard of the project. Next to students and poets - poems were received by such luminaries as David Whyte, Yoko Ono, Allison Crowe and Marshall Rosenberg.

 

Goals of the Valentine Peace Project (VPP) - Expand the meaning of Valentine's Day, illuminate global connectivity, and curate an international shared expression dedicated to the work of peace, the magic of love, the pleasure of poetry, the knowledge of flower growers and ethical peace products. However artfully interpreted - February 14, September 21 (Peace Day) - the VPP aimed to bring a deeper humanity to age old customs of more conscious trade, small acts of kindness, poems of love, expressions of peace, intentional gardens, and simple joy in complicated times. The project founded by Federico Hewson continued briefly after 2012 as an Amsterdam action led by Elena Kravtchenko.

Support came directly from the international floral industry as well as the Fairtrade movement, Dutch municipalities, private foundations and individual contributors.

Working with a peace educator the project created youth peace education lesson plans, sold peace tulip bulbs for Peace Direct in London, planted gardens with Peace Mala in Wales and partnered with ethical chocolatiers Chocolala and Tony's Chocolonely The VPP also participated in the Southbank Centre Imagine Festival in 2012. Articles on the VPP included the cover of HortiNews (NL), the Metro, Huffington Post, Chicago New City, Bloom, Vision, Whole Life Times, Time Out Amsterdam, blogs and local publications.