The 16th of October is the day of observance by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to help increase understanding of problems and solutions in the drive to end hunger. The theme chosen for this year is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. Integra Foundation in collaboration with the Carmelite Priory Mdina wants to mark this day by launching its project ‘Ħwawar u Fjuri’ in Malta, funded by the President’s Creativity Award.
Climate Change, rising food prices, land grabbing and wars force people to become displaced from their own countries of origin. In a land where flowers are crushed humans cannot flourish either. Flowers are at the basis of most of the food we eat, but some flowers no longer produce seeds owing to genetic manipulation and corporate greed. Pollination is also an issue at stake, where bees die in their millions mostly due to pesticides and genetically modified crops. Likewise, humans perish where greed and violence abound. Flowers can also remind us of unjust trade agreements and the exploitation of workers in the production of both flowers we buy for pleasure and food we eat, mostly in the global south. All of these conditions push people to seek life elsewhere.
Integra Foundation and the Carmelite Priory Mdina designed a project which promotes integration precisely through the narration of stories about the use of herbs and flowers in one’s own country and culture of origin. Cultural, religious and ethnic differences may create the illusion that we are very ‘different’ from one another. Sometimes images of people from Africa landing in Malta by boat may ignite fear and reinforce ideas of difference and strangeness. We want to use stories about flowers and herbs as a point of contact, to highlight that which is common and that we share as humans. The stories of these migrants are often overlooked as are the stories of flowers and herbs which journey through life with us.
During the coming year we will be organizing five workshops: L-Ikla, Namur, Talba, Demgħa and Qawmien. We would like to invite anyone who is interested to participate to contact us on our email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or like us on our facebook page. Moreover, those interested may share stories with us which we can publish on our blog.
Integra Foundation in collaboration with the Carmelite Priory Imdina is coordinating ‘Ħwawar u Fjuri’ Project. This project is funded by the President’s Creativity Award. Press here for more information about us and on the project.
Herbs and flowers constitute an intrinsic part of our everyday lives. Often they are our humble companions, accompanying us through life’s joys and sorrows, becoming a language for us and an expression of our emotions, and of our own humanity. They participate symbolically within our relationships, beautify the environments in which we live in, and enhance our nutrition and health. This project aims to use herbs and flowers as a point of contact between Maltese people and migrants living in Malta, to get to know the other through storytelling and sharing our common love for flowers. Though differences are real and present, our commonalities are stronger and this project wants to emphasize this common and shared humanity of ours. We believe that we find our true identity through the encounter with the other and not in isolation or through the exclusion of those who are different from us.
Maltese persons and any person who was not born in Malta but now living on our islands are invited to participate. Flowers and herbs do not distinguish between national and cultural borders and neither does this project. We hope to celebrate cultures through the encounter of the diverse real narratives of people’s stories of their life’s journey, including those who are most often marginalized.
Article: Coming together with a common love of flowers
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