Olive oil, the “liquid gold” of the Mediterranean, has been used for thousands of years in cosmetics, for cooking, and as an offering to the gods. Our Community Fair Trade olive oil is hand-picked and cold pressed in the Cilento National Park in southern Italy
The members of the Nuovo Cilento cooperative make oil from an indigenous variety of olives, which they grow on land handed down to them through the generations.
Olive production in this area dates back to the Middle Ages, when Benedictine monks planted olive groves on the hillsides. The olives are still carefully cultivated and harvested by hand, and grown using organic farming methods.
The World Wildlife Fund first introduced us to the pioneering work of the cooperative, and we made them our sole supplier of Community Fair Trade olive oil. Now they are one of the largest producers of olive oil in the area, boasting some 300 members cultivating 2,000 hectares of land.
Meet Gabriella, one of our organic olive oil suppliers. She inherited her olive farm from her father-in law, and hopes that one day her son will manage the land as their trade has increased income for olive farmers, giving young people a reason not to migrate to the cities.
In a remarkable story of success over adversity, the cooperative has gone from strength to strength, cutting out the middle-man to sell their olive oil directly to customers.
In the Cilento Park, youth unemployment was reaching 40%, and many were leaving for the urban centres. However, in recent years the exodus from San Mauro Cilento has stopped, with some young people coming back to tend the olive farms, as the cooperative can offer a good price for good quality oil.