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FROM THE GREEN OLIVE GROVES OF UMBRIA TO LONDON, A STORY BEYOND JUST ‘MADE IN ITALY’

Umbria, Italy by Hôte-Italia

OLIVOCRACY IS KNOWN FOR DELIVERING AUTHENTIC ITALIAN PRODUCTS THAT RESONATE WITH TRADITION, KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION, WHILE PRESERVING SMALL, LOCAL ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES AND RESPECTING THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURAL INTEGRITY THROUGH IT’S PRODUCTION.

Words By Lida Ormol

Olivocracy, with care for the planet

Umbria, also known as “The green heart of Italy,” is a small region, though well-renowned for its cuisine, best delineated as farm-to-table. Driven by a sustainable passion for quality food, their love for the cultural and agronomic heritage of Italy, a healthy environment and lifestyle for nearly 20 years, Eleonora and Daniele tried to maintain their same habits after moving to London. This often led them to regularly visit organic farmers’ markets and shops in search of Italian food excellence. With their longing desire to champion their own lifestyle, they established Olivocracy in 2016, importing locally produced Italian olive oil, followed by balsamic vinegar, into British markets.

How would you define the core values and mission of Olivocracy?

Olivocracy’s values evolve around quality, traceability, and sustainability. Thus, our mission is to allow people to experience top quality produce, that is respectful to all the key participants in the production process; the producers, environment and consumers. At the same time, we aim to support small organic and biodynamic producers.

“We certainly do not overlook the impacts of globalisation and consumer preferences when buying top quality products from wherever possible, but I suggest; if it is not produced locally, at least make sure you choose traceable products.”

“I suggest, if it is not produced locally, at least make sure you choose traceable products.”

Photoghraphy from “How to grow and care for Olive Trees”, Gardener’s Path

How do you decide which farmers to work with?

To put our core values into practice and represent our desired authenticity, the producers and farmers we use are selected according to three foundational standards; quality, sustainability, and transparency. We engage with them in-person or online to acquire the needed certifications such as, PDO (Protected designation of origin), PGI (Protected geographical indications), in addition to further lab tests, depending on the product type. In case we do not share the same philosophy with respect to quality, excellence, environment and well-being, then we continue searching elsewhere for partners that champion and build on shared values.

Could you tell us more about the marriage of tradition, knowledge, and innovation?

Our producers live in harmony with their surroundings, and have unparalleled respect for nature, tradition and personal stake in everything produced by them. They invariably imbue their products with personality and soul without the pursued interest for cornering the market with quantity at the cost of quality. Most of them own the lands and inherited their traditional farming knowledge, helping them find the right balance of when and how to intervene between organic or biodynamic treatments, for the vitality of the soil and plants. They also welcome innovation in their production processes of olive oil and vinegar, as they understand that nature ties resiliency with adaptability, paying-off in superior produce. Eleonora also highlighted;

“There is constant research around sustainable farming practices and our producers are always updated with the latest findings. Traditional doesn’t always mean backwards and progress doesn’t always mean against nature.”

“Traditional doesn’t always mean backwards and progress doesn’t always mean against nature.”

Photography from “How to grow and care for Olive Trees”, Gardener’s Path

Why do you think sustainability is important and the consumers should be educated about it?

“Because we do not have a planet B!” said Eleonora with emphasis. And people must realise their role as caretakers of a planet they share with 7.5 billion people. That means sustainability is about fulfilling all needs of the present without compromising on future generations’ needs for living. By availing opportunities to reduce pollution, consume high quality and nutrient-dense foods, protect plants and animals, planting trees as carbon sinks and to increase biodiversity are just a few examples.

Do you have any sustainable lifestyle tips for our readers?

People who have recently become invested in adopting sustainable lifestyles, reach out to me with bundles of questions about how I pursue a sustainable lifestyle, and my tip is, just start, somewhere. Patiently change your lifestyle step by step. One is better than zero, and then from one to two the jump is not that long. Every effort, every result you get matters. Above all;

Reuse, refurbish, recycle, upcycle, make your own, and always think that a product has a life that starts way before you buy it and ends way after you get rid of it. Once you are conscious of this, your mindset towards shopping will change.

“Reuse, refurbish, recycle, upcycle, make your own and always think that a product has a life that starts way before you buy it and ends way after you get rid of it.”

What can we expect from Olivocracy in the near future?

Promoting local is our next target, Olivocracy started with import of Italian organic and biodynamic products from Italian small producers into the UK’s market. Now we are collaborating with British local producers to expand our product selection. And soon to be said, we will set our sights on the Italian market with our Italian products.

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