Working to cultivate and nourish 250,000 trees spread across Cyprus in a variety of locations creates employment and encourages traditional methods of farming to be maintained and passed down. It is an important source to sustain people’s livelihoods.
The grapefruit from these farms is produced for juicing, and the oil is expressed as a natural byproduct as the whole fruit is pressed. After pressing, the oil is separated from the juice through a centrifusion process, and carefully collected. Finally, the oil is filtered by Lush, and is ready to be added to our beautiful products.
Another important aspect of our venture in Cyprus is that it involves working with BirdLife International: an autonomous global partnership between conservation organisations separate from any government. Working in over 120 countries and territories, they fight to protect wild birds and their habitats through global diversity. To do this, they work with people in their local communities to promote the use of natural sources in a sustainable way.
Working alongside BirdLife Cyprus and the local community to maintain the grapefruit orchards will encourage the growth of the bird populations across the country, in particular, a local species of barn owl which is under serious threat in the region. These owls act as a natural form of rodent control on farms, and reduce the use of rodenticide poisons and toxins affecting the land. By working closely with the farmers to fix bird boxes to the grapefruit trees and monitoring the owl preservation, we can hopefully help an endangered species to flourish once again. After speaking directly with this organisation and the local community, Agnes believes this process will “benefit the grower, benefit the juicer, benefit Birdlife Cyprus and benefit us.”
With one tonne of the fruit producing only around two kilograms of oil, we are still working with the local farmers and producers on new and innovative ways to increase our yield. Lush are keen to continue resourcing our oil here in a sustainable and regenerative way, and Agnes explains: “We use about 11 tonnes of grapefruit oil a year, and would like half of it to come from Cyprus. It is very early days, and time will tell, but we are determined to keep working with growers and processors in Cyprus.”
Words by Lauren Collins