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Olives Painted Plants  Plant Facts

Several hundred years ago olive oil provided light for lamps, and the golden essence to anoint the brave, wise and rich and embalm the dead. Though it is thought to reduce cholesterol levels and deter heart disease, olive oilÕs uses are not just culinary; it also makes a good hair tonic. Production is booming, with Spain taking the lead, and the squeeze is on to reduce chemical inputs to keep the land in good heart as well as the people.

The ancient terraced olive grove supports far more animal species (insects, reptiles, birds, bats, etc.) than a pine forest. However, people are leaving mountain farms for work on the coast. The goats remain, grazing and knocking down the terraces. What to do? One solution proposes focused subsidies, managed locally, to sustain traditional crops and farming. Buying traditional foods and natural products, seeking out quality and taste, farm holidays: all can help conserve these fragile environments and communities.

Information kindly provided by The Eden Project. Text copyright the Eden Project 2003

    "The Olive Harvest" 33x40 inches acrylic on board © John Dyer 2003
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. Olives

Oil provided light for lamps
Anointing and embalming
Thought to deter heart disease
Production is booming
Spain biggest producer

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