Olive tree growing deals with a tree of great historical, economic and environmental importance, which is why it is deeply rooted in the traditional habits of every producer.
The organic cultivation of olive tree is based on methods of rejuvenation of the olive tree grove soil, the recycling of by-products and other available organic materials and the reproduction and protection of the natural environment.
It is the method of olive production that aims to produce an excellent quality olive oil (meaning extra virgin olive oil), free from pesticide residues, which undermine health, and reduces contamination of soil, water and air.
It also contributes to the preservation of the diversity of valuable plants of the area, wild animals and genetic material of the olive tree.
Creation of an organic olive tree grove
Suitable location: Before creating or setting up a new organic olive tree grove, it is necessary to study and take into account the soil-climatic conditions of the area.
Locations with limited sunshine, long periods of shading and frost-affected areas should be avoided as much as possible. Coastal areas and areas with cool weather and high relative humidity, especially during the summer and autumn months, should not be preferred, because such areas favour high infestations from Olive fruit fly (Thakos (Δάκος) in Greek).
It is also very important the principle that the location where the organic crop will be planted should not be affected or neighboured by conventional olive groves. In a sloping location protection measures must be taken against the transfer of rainwater from conventional olive groves or other conventional crops.
Also, if possible, the plantation should be isolated with a tall natural windbreaker, so that it is not affected by spraying that will be carried out in conventional olive groves or other crops.
Selection of soils and measures for their correction
The main concern of every olive tree grower is from the beginning of the conversion or planting of the organic olive grove to do all those actions to significantly improve the physical and chemical properties of the soil for normal nutrition and growth of trees.
We must keep in mind that the soil is a living organism with a number of important biological processes that in turn can feed the olive trees. Heavily used and damaged soils, with a limited concentration of organic matter, do not help the olive trees to grow and perform satisfactorily. Boring and cohesive soils that retain enough moisture cause rotting in olive trees and reduce or inhibit the prevention of various nutrients.
Soils poor in organic matter are corrected, either by adding organic matter or animal manure or by applying green fertilizer, which is done by incorporating in the soil a mixture of legumes (vetch, broad beans, peas, etc.) with grass plants, with the aim of increasing organic matter and nitrogen.
Green manure is the cheapest method due to the advantages it provides both to the ecological system (non-dependence on the imported expensive system of organic matter), but also in terms of cultivation (competition with some weeds, etc.).
Also, the addition of organic matter to the soil improves its structure, makes it easier to cultivate the soil from agricultural machinery and allows better absorption and retention of moisture.
Olive grove installation and varieties
The olive trees of the organic olive grove must be planted at regular distances. Dense planting does not help their normal ventilation. In sparse planting, the entire area of the land is not economically exploited.
Olive trees are preferred to have a trunk of normal height to facilitate the necessary cultivation care and normal ventilation. The most suitable varieties for organic farming are considered to be those that are resistant to pests and diseases and are adapted to the soil-climatic conditions of each region.
Varieties grafted on wild olives show resistance to soil diseases and develop a large root system. The olive varieties 'Koroneiki', 'Ladoelia' and secondarily 'Picual' show considerable resistance to enemies and diseases.
Nutritional requirements of olive trees:
Significant amounts of the main nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are removed from the olive grove every year due to the needs of the plant for vegetative growth and production. It is natural that when the quantities removed are greater than those available there will be a reduction in production unless these elements are supplemented.
The amount of elements to be added to the soil of each olive grove depends on the type of soil, the available stocks, the cultivation practice followed (pruning, irrigation, etc.) and the production of the year. Consequently, it is not possible for anyone to come up with an ideal fertilisation strategy that applies to all conditions, but it can single out some general guidelines. The most important parameter is always the nutritional requirements of the crop, in this case the olive.
The first concern is to replenish at least the nutrients removed by harvesting and pruning. It has been found that on average 100 kg of olives remove from the soil: 0.9 kg Nitrogen (N), 0.2 kg Phosphorus (P), 1.0 kg Potassium (K) and 0.4 kg Calcium (Ca).
An amount of nutrients that are trapped in the soil, in non-digestible form (mainly in Phosphorus and Potassium) or even lost by rinsing to the lower layers of the soil, mainly in Nitrogen, must be taken into account. Fertilization methods The fertilization of the organic olive grove aims at the improvement of the soil productivity and the strategy that ensures long-term improvement of the texture and structure of the soil along with the increase of its fertility.
Olive fertilization should be based on a program to maintain and rejuvenate the soil of the olive groves. This program is mainly based on the application of the method of green fertilization with legumes, grasses or mixtures, the addition of compost from organic materials, as well as the addition of animal manure, which necessarily comes from animals primarily organic or even extensive breeding.
Organic fertilization: An economical and practical way of fertilizing the organic olive grove is the preparation of compote using the plant residues of the olive grove with manure from organically or extensively farmed animals.
One way to make organic compote is to use olive leaves from olive mills along with about 10-20% of sheep and goat manure. The construction of this type of organic compote costs money, so it is usually used in the first 3-4 years of conversion of the olive grove into organic. In the following years, olive leaves and other plant residues can be used together with 20-40% oil extracts from the tanks of the oil mills.
It is well known that mill waste has a good content of various nutrients, organic matter and microorganisms. The best time to place the compote is immediately after harvest. For every tenth, an average of 2 cubic meters of compost is recommended. The fertilization is supplemented with the integration of the natural vegetation of the olive grove, with the integration of the leaves and branches up to 5 cm thick that are crushed by the cultivation, with the use of special mechanical tools-crushers, as well as with the use of the effluents of the olive mills.
Part of this article can be found on gargalianoionline.gr (News from Messinia on time)
European Fresh Produce association asks for more time and flexibility for new French plastic packaging legislation
Freshfel Europe asks for more time and flexibility for new French plastic packaging legislation. On 1 January 2022, a new legislation banning plastic packaging came into force in France. The new law No. 2020-105 of 10 February 2020, also known as “AGEC law", is adopting in the French national law the European Directive (EU) 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment into the French national legal framework.
The French law is going well beyond the requirements of the European Directive, providing limited flexibility to reach the reduction of plastic products. It only considers a phase-out option for consumers packaging of less than 1,5 kg. Freshfel Europe is urging the European Commission to request France to allow more time for the fresh produce sector to adapt to the new French legislative requirements. Freshfel Europe warned that the new legislation might also significantly endanger other environmental priorities undertaken by the sector, namely its commitments towards food quality and the highest safety ambition for fresh produce as well as waste prevention initiatives. Freshfel Europe also voices its concerns that, pending the introduction of new innovative solutions on stickers, information to consumers might also be compromised.
Over the past months, Freshfel Europe and its members extensively discussed the many changes resulting from the new European packaging requirements which reduce the use of plastic and follow the transposition into national law of the European Directive (EU) 2019/904. The fruit and vegetable sector is committed to adhering to European and national environmental and climatic strategies reflected in the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy. The fresh fruit and vegetable sector also fully shares the objectives of reducing plastic packaging. This is already widely demonstrated by proactive sectorial initiatives and new business practices to engage in a progressive move out of plastic packaging and search for innovative solutions anticipating legislative requirements. Freshfel Europe laments that the transposition of the European Directive 2019/904 in France has disregarded these efforts and the concerns of public stakeholders, including the European Commission, other Member States, as well as the voices of the private sector both in France and at European level, on the far-reaching implications of the new French law.
While some temporary derogations are set by the French decree 2020-105, Freshfel Europe has multiple apprehensions about the fast-tracked introduction of a national legislation that goes well beyond the requirements of the European Directive. This is endangering the good and fair functioning of the Single Market as it opens the door to a proliferation of different rules and timing among its Member States. As of the 1st of January, almost all plastic packagings for sales to consumers as well as all non-home-compostable stickers will be banned in France. This is expected to lead to distortions of competition and discrimination among operators across the European Union.
Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel Europe commented: “While the deadline for plastic phase-out isset in France for 2040, the phase-out target for fruit and vegetables is set on 1st January 2022 with only limited temporary derogations to 2026 for some particularly fragile products. The same pressure is not placed on other food products, hence representing a discriminatory status for the fresh fruit and vegetables,” he added. “The French law is not considering alternative solutions such as the use of recyclable plastic packagings, the ban being the only option. The removal of most of fruit and vegetables plastic packagings with such a short notice is not allowing an alternative to be timely tested and introduced and stocks of existing packaging to be cleared.”
Philippe Binard also warned: “The impact of the entry into force of AGEC Law is just as worrying for the adhesive labels affixed to fresh fruit and vegetables sold to French consumers. The major difficulty today is that there is still no company capable of supplying "Agec-compatible" labels being domestic friendly compostable or made of biosource material. The ban on non-home compostable stickers without having an alternative on the market is problematic as it will significantly endanger the labelling of essential information conveyed to consumers on the stickers such as origin, brands, geographical indications, or organic”.
First alternatives might only start to be placed on the market at the earliest only towards the end of 2022 at best. While this announcement is to be welcomed, Freshfel Europe considers that it might lead the sector to new costly machinery investment costs. More time should be given to secure for the sector access to a diversity of solutions at affordable conditions before enforcing the new law.
Philippe Binard added: “The provisions for stickers in France are very confusing. French producers and traders would be allowed to affix stickers on the fresh produce in France but only if shipped for consumption to another members states or internationally. Affixing labels by operators located outside France would be restricted if the final destination would be France, which is not easy to anticipate for producers at the time of packing.” Freshfel Europe views the French provision on stickers leading to a lot of incoherent consequences and many uncertainties for the free movement of goods within the European Union.
Pending the elaboration of alternative solutions for both consumers packaging and stickers, the sector fears as well several side effects of the new rules that should not be overlooked as being also very relevant for the Farm to Fork Strategy. The quality and safety of products might be challenged as well as the food waste sector’s prevention initiatives. The reshape of packaging policies is also expected to further exacerbate the costs increase of packagings for the sector in search of alternative solutions or materials.
Given the lack of transparency in the interpretation of the law, the limited flexibility, and the tight deadline for the coming into force of the French Law as from 1 January 2022, Freshfel Europe urged the European Commission to act. On 17 December 2021, in a letter addressed to 6 European Commissioners, Freshfel Europe requested the European Commission to enter into dialogue with the French Authorities to secure more time for the fresh produce sector to adjust to the national French Law until technical solutions for both sales packaging containers and stickers are available.
Philippe Binard stated: “It is crucial to allow more time to avoid market disturbances and steps that would deeply endanger the free circulation of goods in the internal market and would generate distortion of competition and discrimination among operators.” He underlined: “The Commission should take all the necessary steps to prevent the proliferation of different rules for the transposition of this directive as it will only lead then to a complex, costly and confusing business environment.”
Beyond the individual objective of the plastic strategy, Freshfel Europe insists that it is of paramount importance to protect the competitiveness of the fruit and vegetable sector and prevent the introduction of costly new burdens upon a sector that represent products identified by many as an undisputed essential partner for the solutions to climate, societal, and environmental challenges.
Consumers and corporations are talking the talk about sustainable practices, but independent natural retailers established those roots long ago
As sustainable business practices become more and more important to consumers, and as big corporations proclaim their commitment to sustainability, independent natural retailers point out that they've been leading in this area all along.
Their tendency to focus on organic products, local sourcing and minimizing waste has been core to their business strategies for decades, and they have often built customer followings based on those principles.
"We have held these values near and dear for 29 years," said Steven Rosenberg, founder and chief eating officer, Liberty Heights Fresh in Salt Lake City. "This isn't anything new to us. We feel we should all do our best to use less of the Earth's resources, whether it be water, clean air, healthy soil, less electricity, and certainly less carbon-emitting energy."
Likewise, Eli Lesser-Goldsmith, CEO of Healthy Living Market & Café in South Burlington, Vt., said his company prides itself on its nearly four decades of environmentally conscious positioning.
"The heart of our business is community sustainability," he says. "It's local grocery shopping; it's all the things that are now being talked about as things humans need to do to be better stewards of the Earth. We are proud that we have actual heritage in the space and actual authenticity."
Consumers appear to have their own definitions of what sustainability means, however. Environmental concerns often overlap with interest in societal issues such as fair pay, as well as with consumers' desire to eat more healthfully.
Consumers expect that retailers are vetting their suppliers to make sure they are being grown or made under fair working conditions, Rosenberg said.
"I feel like a lot of people are connecting the dots," he said. "People want to buy good food, and they want to know that it is going to make them smile as much inside as outside, and the ingredients are going to be things their great-grandmothers would recognize."
Lesser-Goldsmith pointed out that not only do consumers all view sustainability differently, each of the brands that supply his stores also have their sustainability story, as does his own store brand.
"As the topic of sustainability and climate change evolves, people are forming their own opinions and trying to do what what's best for their community, for the environment, for their wallets and their health," he said. Some companies may be clouding the waters with sustainability claims that lack merit, which makes it difficult for those who are truly making an effort to be sustainable to get their messages across, he added.
Mylese Tucker, owner of Nature's Cupboard in Michigan City and Chesterton, Ind., said her stores' customers often use social media to amplify messages around sustainability and supporting local growers, makers and retailers.
"We have customers posting all the time on Facebook, talking about how we use local farmers," she said. "Customers are helping us get that message out there, and letting the community know why they should be shopping here."
Several customers feel so strongly about sustainability that they even collect the retailer's recycling and its compostable nonfoods waste. "A lot of our customers are really committed, especially those moms who want a better world for their kids," Tucker said.
Nature's Cupboard itself is dedicated to doing as much as it can to operate sustainably, using compostable containers in its juice bar and deli, for example. It eliminated plastic bags several years ago, Tucker said.
At Liberty Heights Fresh, which has been recognized multiple times for its sustainable practices, Rosenberg said one of the first things he did when he opened the store in 1993 was convert the refrigeration to be more energy-efficient. It also has three gardens within walking distance of the store where it grows thousands of pounds of crops each year.
"We want to lead with integrity with everything we do," he said. "If you are going to talk the talk, you had better walk the walk."
Source: Supermarket News
Most of us think of gardens as sunny places, which is likely due to the fact that the crops we're used to growing and eating require full sun to thrive. And it's true: those summer veggie gardens brimming with squash, green beans, and tomatoes require a lot of sunlight. Many edible plants, on the other hand, can grow in the shade.For those of us who want to grow more of what we eat, it's critical to understand what we can grow in less-than-sunny conditions. A variety of fruits and vegetables, it turns out, prefers shade, or at least dappled shade, to do their thing.
If being experimental and adventurous, with a dash of self-sufficiency, sounds like a good time, the list of shade-tolerant produce below might be just what you're looking for.
1. Ostrich Fern:
Every spring, the forest floor is littered with new plant sprouts that have been waiting for some warmth. Ostrich ferns produce an abundance of edible fiddleheads (unfurled fronds) that are similar to asparagus for those in the know. They prefer partially shady locations and grow into lovely ornamental plants for the rest of the year.
Ramps, also known as wild garlic, grow naturally in deciduous forests where the soil is rich in organic matter. They are spring ephemerals that prefer to bask in the sun before the trees' leaves have returned. Ramps take a while to get going (a few years before harvest), but they are perennials that can produce tasty greens for many years.
3. Creeping Raspberry:
Creeping raspberry (thimbleberry) grows low and prolifically in shady areas, such as the understory of food forests, and makes an excellent edible. It produces delicate fruits that are too soft for market transportation. Nonetheless, they have a flavor similar to raspberries and make delicious jams. They prefer full shade. Another advantage is that they are thornless.
Wintergreen is a low-growing evergreen that makes a lovely groundcover and has edible berries and tea-making leaves. Wintergreen's flavor is derived from both the berries and the leaves, as the name implies. This is an excellent groundcover for shady gardens. They can tolerate some sunlight but prefer to be in the shade.
5. Sweet Cecily:
Sweet Cecily, a self-seeding member of the carrot family, will quickly spread wherever it is planted. It thrives in partial shade and produces a delicious variety of snacks, as well as attracting a large number of pollinators. Sweet Cecily, like many other wildflowers, prefers to be planted in the fall and will bloom the following spring.
Grow 7 food plants in shaded areas
6. Arctic Beauty Kiwi
When we can grow something vertically, even in shady areas, we save valuable growing space. Arctic Beauty Kiwi thrives in partial shade. It grows to be about 10-12 feet tall and produces divine fruit that resembles hardy kiwis (smooth and green on the outside) rather than the fuzzy kiwis found in supermarkets.
Elderberry trees are voracious, quick-growing plants that thrive in wet soil and partial shade. Both the berries and the flowers are medicinal and edible. In general, the berries are used to make jam, syrup, and wine. Teas can be made from flowers. If the trees become too large, they can be pruned and will recover to continue producing.
Grow a lot of food in areas that most gardeners believe are off-limits to plants. That is not the case at all. Lots of tasty foods will grow in places where the sun rarely shines.