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From a place of peace

The olives are all hand-harvested, either picked by hand or combed from the trees with a small rake, with nets in place on the ground to catch them.

The Sindyanna co-operative in Galilee, Israel, is a place of peace. Arab and Jewish communities work side by side to produce Fair Trade goods including extra virgin olive oil. This not-for-profit organisation that is so pioneering in its support of peace and union between two allegedly hostile peoples. The name 'Sindyanna of Galilee' refers to the Palestine Oak tree, which was chosen as a symbol of the strength of all the Arab citizens that remained living in Israel after many people were displaced.

Sindyanna is a women-led cooperative that strives for social change, seeking to help producers from the Palestinian occupied territories. Profits from the olive oil go towards Sindyanna’s Welcome Centre, in which women from both Arab and Jewish communities work together learning one another’s crafts, such as embroidery and basket weaving. The co-op combines commercial activity with community work, thus enhancing the empowerment of local women whilst developing the olive business. They stress the environmental concerns and commercial relations between Arab and Jewish communities, striving to reinforce the economy of the Palestinian population both in Israel and the occupied territories.

The co-operative sources their olives directly from producing families, harvested in Israel and the (currently occupied) West Bank. This is the best way, they say, to benefit the farmers and families involved in farming. The olives are harvested north of Israel from such places as Western Galilee, Wadi Arra and the Nazareth area. The olives are all either picked by hand or combed from the trees with a small rake, with nets in place on the ground to catch them.

Olive oil is full of powerful antioxidants. It also contains squalene which is often isolated from shark liver oil and used as a valuable ingredient in creams and ointments. Olives are one of the best alternative botanical sources, as they contain unusually high levels of the substance. The oil's composition makes it ideally suited to protect and hydrate the skin, also improve the tensile strength of hair and gently treat the scalp.

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