No more olive oil…?

A couple of days ago, I had a very interesting conversation with Nicolas who supplies us with amazing, single estate organic Greek olive oil. He came to tell me due to the impact of climate change his farmers do not have any oil for him for the rest of this year, and olive oil could become extremely scarce as the year progresses. This was to be his last delivery to us. 

He also advised that we try and source some oil now from a reputable supplier as the price has inflated so much that there will be sleights of hand in the olive oil industry, and what we think we are getting may not be what we are actually getting.

Our food system has become so convoluted, and as climate change puts more pressure on our production systems, more and more corners will be cut as retailers and farmer get equally desperate to survive. 

Pressure to change our food system is coming and must come, but just this week gone by, we have seen protests in Germany from farmers who are not happy with the pushing of an environmental agenda. I feel their pain, for years governments and the food industry has been encouraging a certain way of doing business, and now that must change. 

This change is inevitable, but it will require a very steady hand on the tiller, and a fundamental change in mindset when it comes to primary food production. An agenda no politician will touch.  Who wants to be the advocate for paying a little more for our food, when our whole system is based on the lowest possible price and not value, because low price does not always mean value.  

There, is no question that the supermarket model devalues fresh food. 

We have just finished the planning for the year ahead and looking at the performance of the farm in 2023 has been a depressing affair. 

I feel we may not have paid ourselves a fair price for the food we sell.  If we do pay our farm more, we will not make enough to run our retail business, as we must keep our prices as low as we can to try and compete with supermarkets, it is a tough space to be in.

But there is no question now in my mind as we head into 2024 with fresh purpose that our farm needs to be fairly compensated for the food it grows. There is a cost to produce high value food.

But there is also a very real, unseen cost attached to the selling of 1 Litre of olive for less than €4. This is the unseen, disconnected cost, the price of a level of agricultural industrialisation reliant on chemicals and ultra processing that removes any remnants of the original olives from the olive oil, all the goodness that was once there is gone.  This is the price we pay for our modern-day food system.

As climate breakdown amplifies, we may find ourselves increasingly seeing empty supermarket shelves where we expect the food to be.

Of course, there is a different path we can thread here, one that is brighter, better, filled with wholesome, chemical free nutrition, one that protects, enhances, helps and does right by our people, health, and planet. That is the course we are holding steady to.

Thank you for being with us on this one.