Across Palestinian land, one that continues to be ravaged by ongoing violence and destruction, there still stands a powerful symbol of the nation’s identity, the olive tree. The Olive Odyssey, a Palestinian olive oil collective, is one of the few initiatives that is actively striving to continue to harvest and make olive oil despite the difficulty and ongoing danger. From the West Bank all the way to the North of Palestine, the Olive Odyssey is a thriving network of Palestinians and farmers working together to continue to produce olive oil and export it outside of Palestine.
The collective is working hard as it is now the harvest season in Palestine known as an age-old annual family and community tradition. Yet, with the current situation in the country, the collective is met with many obstacles including the inability to reach certain farmers and access their land. Sometimes they are able to only reach one of their farmers because of how many of the farms end up closed or access is blocked to the land.
Knowing all these obstacles, through sheer determination, they are still continuing to produce olive oil as a way to share the story of their people and their land. The Olive Odyssey recently shared their 2023 olive oil harvest on their Instagram page. During this year’s harvest, they were able to craft seven signature types of bottled olive oil that were made by seven hard-working farmers, representing six regions across Palestine. They are known for organic cultivation meaning that their farmers abstain from artificial intervention and rely on timeless traditional methods of harvest to cultivate the oil.
Across the globe, people are purchasing their olive oil and it is a beautiful example of how the soul and identity of Palestine remain rooted to the ground through global recognition and appreciation of olive oil, the intrinsic symbol of Palestine.