Volunteer distributors come to the SU to offer students Zaytoun Palestinian fair trade olive oil and raise awareness of the struggles farmers go through in the region
As Go Green Tuesday focused on Food and Health, we saw a variety of food being offered in the SU for students and staff to enjoy. With low prices and high quality, there was something for everyone, but most of all, a lot to learn from each stand.
Lorna and Colin Archer put on a marvellous display of produce made from Zaytoun Palestinian fair trade olive oil, alongside green olives, sun dried tomatoes, almonds and a whole lot of goodies that would make perfect Valentine’s Day gifts, such as honey soap, lemon soap and mugs supporting the Palestinian cause.
As voluntary distributors of the Palestinian fair trade olive oil in the UK, Lorna and Colin sell the produce at public meetings and their popularity has been growing since they first started five years ago, with organisations inviting them to events such as Go Green Week.
“When Gaza was attacked, we decided we needed to do somethings to help Palestine. We looked for local shops selling Palestinian products and when we couldn’t find any, I thought it has to be me who does this!”, said Mr Archer.
Since then, the couple joined the Worcester-Palestine Friendship Group and organise events to raise awareness of the issues faced by the Palestinian community, write letters to politicians highlighting injustices and are part of a growing network of organisations drawing attention to human rights violations in the region.
“Farmers are at risk of having their olive groves uprooted, they have to go through barriers daily and they are taking that risk. You need determination and strength of character to get this produce out of the West Bank. The UK provides a market and an income for these people,” said Mr Archer.
Zaytoun has been selling Palestinian olive oil in the UK since 2009, when it gained recognition in British supermarkets as a fair trade product. In the economy of the West Bank, olive oil plays an essential role and by buying this product, shoppers help the farmers in Palestine make a living.
Educating people to make responsible decisions in the products they use daily is a significant part of education and living sustainably.
“It’s incredibly important to get young people involved and raise awareness,” Mr Archer said.
As olives are the most cultivated tree crop for Palestinians and provide work for more than 100,000 people, farmers are still facing difficulties regarding security. Using the product doesn’t only help local farmers, but also provides you with an oil of the highest quality, renowned for its outstanding qualities.