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Sustainable Eats 2.0: Inside the Olive Oil industry's Game-Changing Transformation

Updated: Nov 18, 2023


regenerative olive farming: going beyond organic olive oil. The best quality olive oil in modern times addressing sustainability in food
Regenerative agriculture in the olive oil industry

Welcome to the forefront of culinary revolution! In this blog you will discover how an age-old industry is embracing revolutionary changes to redefine the very essence of food quality amidst the challenges of climate change. Join us on an exploration that delves into the heart of a traditionally rooted sector, unveiling the secrets behind pioneering practices that are reshaping the future of a healthy food. Dive in as we unravel the 3 essential strategies and groundbreaking insights driving a seismic shift in the olive oil landscape;


Redefining Quality: going beyond Organic & Extra Virgin

A Paradigm Shift in Olive farming


 

Redefining Quality: going beyond Organic & Extra Virgin


Food Quality is quality of Product, Planet and People.


Food Quality is quality of Product, Planet, and People, all at once!. With 'People' we refer to farmers, and consumer’s lives; In 2021, we took a significant step towards redefining the standards of olive oil production with the launch of Elietsa, the first bio-circular extra virgin olive oil. For years we noticed problems for consumers in the supermarkets and making the right choice in front of the shelf. In addition the industry is suffering a tremendous problem around olive waste. Three years later the environmental issues but also new opportunities are on the table globally. Our vision goes beyond traditional definitions of quality, expanding to embrace the well-being of the product, the planet, and the communities involved.



A Paradigm Shift in Olive Farming


Bio-circular innovation begins at the heart of olive farming, the trees!


Our groundbreaking innovation in regenerative agriculture, aka circular olive farming practices, started by recognizing the role of Olive Trees as Nature's Climate Warriors. According to a 2017 study by the International Olive Council (IOC), the production of one kilogram of olive oil can remove 10 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This translates to almost 50 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, emphasizing the potential impact of healthy olive trees on our planet.


Olive trees are therefore called carbon sinkers...however....in case of growing the olives for olive oil generates even more tons of olive waste, around 30 million m3 of olive mill wastewater is annually in the Mediterranean area. A hot topic we had to raise to the industry's attention after the international workshops at the International Olive Council in Madrid last October.


The Solution we bring forward to the industry; converted bio-compost and giving it back to the trees!





Sustainable Pressing and Waste Repurposing


Our commitment extends beyond the groves to the olive mills, ensuring sustainable pressing and repurposing of waste through a zero-waste approach.


Collaborating with a a specialized biomass refinery in Greece, olive waste is converted into bio compost, As a last step in the circular farming practice we are giving this bio-compost back our Olive Yards. contributing to soil health and water retention. Last but not least the olive waste is not anymore a carbon release element but will add to the Olive groves being carbon sinkers removing even more carbon, creating new business opportunities.

Recognizing the global issue of olive waste, we actively engage with experts and scientists like Professor Vlyssides, exploring innovative solutions to turn waste into valuable by-products.


Beyond Waste: New Avenues of Innovation


Olive waste streams offer untapped potential for various industries, including cosmetics, medical/chemical, and broader agricultural sectors.


In collaboration with EU programs and investors, our BAO project works to valorize these side-streams, turning industry challenges into new opportunities. The positive returns on this business case showcase the potential for olive oil production to become a leader in sustainable and innovative practices.





Collaborative Initiatives for a Sustainable Future


By connecting more farms & mills to our open platform The Olive Yards we target a strong transformation of olive agriculture and a new norm for quality olive oils and organic food.


Currently engaged in a collaborative EU project, we aim to expand the reach of our bio-circular solutions. By involving more experts and farmers, we hope to foster positive impacts throughout the olive oil sector. Our initiative emphasizes the need to bring together key players in the agriculture sector, recognizing all olive groves as Nature's Climate Warriors and Olive Mills as Sustainable Business Opportunities.



Towards Net Zero Practices and Beyond


In essence, our three-step approach – Healthy Trees, Healthy Oil, Healthy Planet – reflects our commitment to making the olive oil industry a driver of positive environmental change.


We envision regenerative, circular olive farming not only as an economic endeavor but as a means for farmers to earn from selling carbon credits, recognizing their vital role in preserving crucial biodiversity's.


With bio-circular extra virgin olive oil as the first business opportunity, already successfully launched in the Benelux B2C and B2B markets, new innovation and valorization opportunities are on the horizon.


To create more impact we learn and work together with other important challenger brands which already made it to a mass market impact stage.


As we applaud the IOC’s promotion of olive oil as a healthy and environmentally friendly fat, we invite others to join us in this transformative journey towards a new healthy eating. Together, we can impact the industry and pave the way for a sustainable future. #togetherweimpact


Author: M van den Berg, Founder The Olive Yards | Elietza




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