For Children Visiting Crete, a Free Book on Olive Oil Culture

The Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities and the International Olive Council are offering free copies of two educational books about olive oil to the children of tourists who visit Crete, Greece.

Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
May. 26, 2016
By Lisa Radinovsky
Rethymnon, Crete, Greece

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In the areas sur­round­ing the Mediterranean Sea, peo­ple have not been liv­ing alone. For thou­sands of years, they have been liv­ing together with a dif­fer­ent kind of pop­u­la­tion, a pop­u­la­tion that con­stantly grows and expands over the plains, the slopes and the moun­tains of the hin­ter­land of the Mediterranean coun­tries. This is the pop­u­la­tion of the olive trees,” as we learn from the back cover of a new book, On the Olive Routes by Nikos Michelakis, Angela Malmou, Anaya Sarpaki, and George Fragiadakis.

In coop­er­a­tion with the International Olive Council (IOC), the Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities (ACOM) is offer­ing free copies of this and another book to the chil­dren of tourists who visit the island of Crete in Greece. 

As part of the sec­ond phase of their joint cam­paign to increase young people’s aware­ness of the healthy, fla­vor­ful, and cul­tural value of olive oil, ACOM and the IOC have pub­lished 10,000 copies of the two books, one for ages 5 to 8 and another for older chil­dren and their par­ents, in Greek and English edi­tions. Much of the Greek edi­tion is being dis­trib­uted to Cretan schools, and both edi­tions are avail­able for online read­ing, along with some children’s games.

Working with hotels in Crete through the hotel own­ers’ asso­ci­a­tions in each of its four pre­fec­tures, ACOM is con­tin­u­ing a broader edu­ca­tional project that began as a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort to reach out to hun­dreds of the island’s school­child­ren and par­ents with the help of munic­i­pal­i­ties and schools. During the school year, ACOM spon­sored eight well-attended events that fea­tured children’s the­atri­cal per­for­mances per­tain­ing to olives and olive oil, as well as brief experts’ pre­sen­ta­tions for parents.

Now, ACOM has invited hotels to request the two free children’s books for dis­play and dis­tri­b­u­tion in their lob­bies. Aimed at young chil­dren, Games with the Olive includes col­or­ing pages and sim­ple mazes and games related to olive oil pro­duc­tion and olive oil in the con­text of mythol­ogy, his­tory, reli­gion, and health. 

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The beau­ti­fully illus­trated book On the Olive Routes Past, Present, and Future pro­vides more detail for older chil­dren and their par­ents on the impor­tance of olive trees and olive oil in Greek life and cul­ture in both ancient times and the present. It dis­cusses har­vest­ing, olive oil pro­duc­tion, olive tree botany and cul­ti­va­tion, olive oil qual­ity clas­si­fi­ca­tion, the tra­di­tional Cretan diet, the health ben­e­fits of olive oil and ways to cook with it, and olive oil con­sump­tion, imports and exports.

Dr. Nikos Michelakis, a sci­en­tific con­sul­tant to ACOM, told Olive Oil Times he esti­mates that over 5 mil­lion peo­ple will visit Crete this year. With ACOM’s edu­ca­tional books already in the recep­tion areas of more than 50 hotels and addi­tional books requested by oth­ers, he hopes their mes­sage about the impor­tance of olive trees and the health value and taste of olive oil will reach many of those tourists. ACOM has requested that hotel staff ask tourists who accept the books to com­plete a brief ques­tion­naire to gauge the level of their knowl­edge about olive oil and their inter­est in using it.

In addi­tion to edu­cat­ing both Greeks and for­eign­ers regard­ing olive oil, ACOM aims to improve the diets of peo­ple who visit or live in Crete and encour­age gas­tro­nomic tourism involv­ing con­sump­tion of local prod­ucts, thus increas­ing employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for Cretans. With this project, ACOM offers some­thing for every­one, includ­ing a quiet activ­ity and a sou­venir for vaca­tion­ing chil­dren, and edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren and par­ents who wish to learn more about the lands they visit and the foods they eat there.

Parents might not fully believe the claim that the olive fruit is the great­est cure for any prob­lem in life” (from the sixth cen­tury BC Athenian states­man Solon, as quoted in On the Olive Routes). But they may be quite inter­ested to read that the health ben­e­fits of olive oil, known since ancient Greek times mainly through the works of the med­ical pio­neers Hippocrates, Galen, and Dioscorides, are con­stantly being con­firmed and backed up by recent research and stud­ies.” Looking over their children’s shoul­ders, they may be inclined to bor­row this book to learn more.


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