Soil health has always been a guiding principle for us when trying to find farmers to work with to grow our olives, the ingredients for the blends and our other Mediterranean delights.
On our quest to find the perfect olive, we’ve spent years seeking out farms where olives are grown using traditional methods. In these olive groves the farmer works in harmony with nature, promoting the health of both the groves themselves and the surrounding countryside so that insects, birds and wildflowers flourish and the land remains rich and bountiful.
That’s why we couldn’t be more excited to be working with the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA) to support their mission to reverse soil decline in the UK and helprestore our soils to health within one generation.
It’s no secret that most of us take our soil for granted (and we’re often guilty of this too): something we walk on, something used to grow flowers and vegetables at home and something we often have to wash out of our children’s clothes!
Yet our soils are in a major crisis. Their health is declining to the extent that we are now just one generation away from a soil system unable to meet the needs of the people that depend upon it. This has come about despite the efforts of a vast and expanding number of organisations from science, agriculture, industry and civil society working to understand and improve soil management.
We really should be taking better care of soil given that it has always been there to meet our needs – as a source of nourishment for our food, foundations for our buildings and storage for our water and carbon. If we don’t, it won’t be around to support the generations that come after us…
The SSA sits at the heart of the soils issue, feeding into government policy but also working ‘on the ground’ with the supply chain.
As one of their partners, it’s our job to help raise awareness of the importance of our soil and get people to ‘fall in love’ with this vitally important resource to secure a healthy future for everyone.
Ellen Fay, Co-Director of SSA, says: “Trees are a vital indicator of soil health, and the olive tree – one of Europe’s iconic tree species and the source of one of Europe’s most iconic products – provides a fascinating case study of the inter-relationship between soil, plant and human health.
At a time when climate change and tree disease increasingly threaten Europe’s ability to produce the food it needs to feed its population, the manner with which farmers manage their soil will be a critical success factor.
We have been impressed by the Real Olive Company’s interest in and commitment to incorporating soil health into its network of growers, those who work in harmony with nature and promote the health of both the groves themselves and the soils they grow in with a knock-on effect for insects, birds and wildflowers and a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem.
We see their work as a model for other businesses, and a best practice example of supplier-producer relations. We are a UK-based organisation but the challenge of soil health is a global one and we look forward to working with the ROC, learning from them and bringing our message to their audience of consumers.”
We believe we can learn a lot from our Mediterranean counterparts. It can’t be a coincidence that in the disease-free longevity hot spots, where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives, food is grown without the use of artificial chemicals. When food is farmed organically it is not ‘propped up’ by artificial fertilisers or pesticides. This means it must be naturally resilient, and the foundation for this is a strong soil teeming with nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms. This is good for the plants, good for the land, and good for us.
On well-run organic farms everything which is taken from the land is put back in, so nutrients required to keep the soil and food supply healthy are continually recycled. The food is high in quality rather than quantity, making the diet a naturally health-giving one.
To find out more about the Sustainable Soils Alliance, visit their website here – https://sustainablesoils.org
Look out for interesting updates on our partnership over the coming months…