Whole Foods Carries Palestinian Fair Trade Olive Oils
(3BL Media and Just Means) - It’s the purest olive oil you’ve ever tasted. It’s so pure you find yourself sneaking sips of it straight out of the bottle. The food it flavors becomes secondary as every excuse is made to showcase its divine goodness. Salads are transformed. Greek yogurt with zaatar and the Rumi variety show up as the main entree. Dessert is Nabali with grilled figs. Yes, Canaan Fair Trade’s olive oil is this delicious. And today, you can buy their Jerusalem Blend and a selection of the company’s Palestinian products in almost every U.S. Whole Foods Market.*
Two years ago, I spent the summer in the hills of the West Bank. As part of a research impact assessment, I worked with Canaan Fair Trade, interviewing their farmers and chronicling their journeys. We uncovered powerful stories of determination and perseverance. The faces of fair trade, the women the children and the small farmers—the reason why the model exists and why it works—graciously invited me into their homes and generously shared their commitment to their land, to their heritage and to their future. Through our research, we found that the fair trade model is able to support small farmers and build their local communities despite living and working in an occupied territory. This discovery was huge for the fair trade movement, demonstrating that the model serves its purpose even in the most challenging of circumstances.
Farmer Odeh Abed Al Aziz Ali told me, “Fair trade is pride. I am prouder. I have more dignity and a better life. Instead of selling the land to make money, I am buying the land to make money. I invest in my land and I make money.”
For Palestinian olive farmers, their land and their olive trees represent life. They depend on the tree to feed their families, for sustenance and for nutrition. The olive harvest is ceremonial and involves the entire family. To celebrate the harvest season, Canaan Fair Trade offers olive harvest tours each year. This year’s harvest tour and celebration is November 1-8. It’s a great way to meet farmers impacted by fair trade and to gain a better understanding of what the olive tree means to them and to their culture. And it’s a great way to meet the people who have handcrafted every delicious ounce of oil you drizzle on your toast.
For Whole Foods to carry Canaan Fair Trade’s product line provides a highly visible representation of the Palestinian people and their culture. I’ll never forget the words of Farmer Saleh Ayasi:
“For me, I have great pride that my Palestinian product is reaching all over the world. Some people may not know about Palestine, but my product raises the spirit of Palestine. Canaan’s products make a name for Palestine.”
Read about Canaan Fair Trade’s work here. Read about fair trade’s impact in Palestine here. Apply to join the Olive Harvest Tour. Check out their work on Facebook and find their products at your local Whole Foods Market.
*except for stores in Florida
*some Whole Foods Stores only carry a selection of Canaan Fair Trade's products