Olive cultivation in the Mediterranean has for many centuries carried the messages of health, peace prosperity, culture and wisdom. In my homeland, these messages are embodied in the myth of ancient Greece of the goddess Athena.
Today, Alberto Grimelli from Italy (director of Teatro Naturale), Juan Vilar from Spain (founder and executive director, Juan Vilar Consultores Estratégicos) and Vassilis Zampounis from Greece (founder and editor of olivenews.gr) have joined forces to create an information hub on the value of the olive sector, olive oil and table olives.
We chose to place particular focus on the topics of the market, health, gastronomy, tourism, the environment and science, which are important to the global village, beyond the peoples of the Mediterranean region whose diet and daily habits are deeply rooted in the cultivation of the olive and in olive oil.
This move by Olivaenews.com also aims to bring together olive producers from different countries to overcome the artificial divisions between them so that they can face the challenges of a globalised world together. After all, olive oil represents less than 1.5% of the global production and consumption of vegetable oils.
As Alberto Grimelli notes, “Olivaenews.com aims to be an open venture, without exclusions and in co-operation with institutes, public bodies and unions/co-operatives. Olive producers frequently ignore the fact that their counterparts in other countries face the same problems and dilemmas as they do. This is why Olivaenews won’t stop at Greece, Italy and Spain but intends to create a true Mediterranean network.”
With his deep knowledge and decisive influence on global opinion, Juan Vilar points out that “With continuous planting, olive cultivation has spread to all continents. However, it’s not enough that consumers should know olive oil is good for their health. OlivaeNews will work for the sector to gain added value.”
I reflect on the fact that modern technology bridges distances and perhaps these thoughts will be read by people, unknown to me, from Osaka to New York and from Oslo to Cape Town, something unimaginable when I started working on olives and olive oil in 1980.
During the long period of discussions with my friends and associates Alberto and Juan, we have had the opportunity to confirm the love and knowledge we have for the olive and olive oil, which in mythology were gifted to us by the gods and nature of the Mediterranean, and which through Olivaenews will be communicated to the rest of the world.
Vassilis Zampounis * [GR]
* Agroeconomist, president of OLIVAENEWS Network, vice-president of the Scientific Society of Olive Encyclopaedists (4E)