An Olive Tree Garden of Peace is Innagurated on Crete

The grove comprises 21 olive varieties from countries around the world. Its creators hope it fosters a sense of peace and community among olive-producing nations.
(Photo: The Garden of Peace)
Aug. 10, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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Representatives of the Greek gov­ern­ment, the International Olive Council and the United Nations cel­e­brated the inau­gu­ra­tion of a unique olive grove on Crete ded­i­cated to peace among nations.

The Garden of Peace olive grove is the home of olive trees rep­re­sent­ing 21 vari­eties from many olive-pro­duc­ing coun­tries.

Along with tra­di­tional loca­tions in the Mediterranean, such as Albania, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco, trees also were imported from the United States, Argentina and Iran.

See Also:The Bid to Boost Olive Oil Quality on Crete

Along with its loca­tion in the heart of the Mediterranean, Crete has a long his­tory and cul­tural asso­ci­a­tion with the olive tree. Some of the world’s old­est olive trees grow on Crete and other Greek islands.

Along with the goat, the olive tree is a national emblem embraced by Crete’s res­i­dents. Olives are at the heart of the island’s farm­ing cul­ture, and it is one of the world’s most-rec­og­nized olive oil-pro­duc­ing regions.

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The new grove is located at the Mediterranean Agricultural Institute of Chania (Maich), which is part of the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (Ciheam).

Plácido Plaza Lopez, Ciheam’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, described the grove as a token of friend­ship among nations and a sym­bol of dia­logue and peace to help guide future gen­er­a­tions.

According to Plaza Lopez, the gar­den gath­ers thou­sands of years of col­lec­tive his­tory” and should remind every­one of the strong bonds that link humans.

He added that Athena, the god­dess of wis­dom, cre­ated this immor­tal tree… by touch­ing a clod of earth with the tip of her spear,” thus pro­vid­ing the flame that will illu­mi­nate our nights” with lamp oil and the fruit that will feed human­ity.

As hunger reap­pears in the world and food inse­cu­rity resur­faces in some coun­tries of our region, the nour­ish­ing sym­bol­ism of the olive tree is a salu­tary reminder: agri­cul­ture is of vital impor­tance, and more sus­tain­able agri-food sys­tems are essen­tial con­di­tions for pros­per­ity and peace,” Plaza Lopez said.

The for­mer Greek for­eign min­is­ter and mem­ber of par­lia­ment Dora Bakoyannis praised the new grove and said she could not think of a bet­ter way than this gar­den of olive trees to trans­mit to present and future gen­er­a­tions a mes­sage of peace and respect.”

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Dora Bakoyannis, Member of Parliament and Placido Plaza, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and CIHEAM Secretary General (Photo: The Garden of Peace)

Bakoyannis also empha­sized how the Mediterranean Sea has been our sanc­tu­ary for cen­turies. It has allowed us to develop, to come together and carve a path towards a shared ben­e­fi­cial future.”

Francesco Serafini, pres­i­dent of the Garden of Peace asso­ci­a­tion, said the olive tree is unit­ing all the coun­tries of the Mediterranean in an imag­i­nary embrace.”

He added that it is a means of estab­lish­ing bridges whose main pil­lars are peace, tol­er­ance and coop­er­a­tion, par­tic­u­larly in today’s world, where vio­lence is gain­ing trac­tion over char­ity and good­ness.”

The asso­ci­a­tion has bap­tized other groves in the past, but the one in Crete is unique because of the inter­na­tional com­mit­ment shared by 21 coun­tries.

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Ciheam said the new gar­den is sur­rounded by the sub­ur­ban park of Maich and can wel­come stu­dents from schools, uni­ver­si­ties and for­eign vis­i­tors.”

Serafini added how the new grove is the only one where so many dif­fer­ent cul­ti­vars from dif­fer­ent coun­tries can be stud­ied together while grow­ing in the same loca­tion.



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