It’s touted as peace in an olive oil bottle.
Toronto-based Robert Massoud, a Palestinian-Canadian, has started the non-profit project called Zatoun, which imports fair-trade olive oil from Palestine to Canada.
The oils are already for sale in the Okanagan via several channels, and Massoud will be in the Okanagan from Saturday to March 9 for a 15-stop speaking tour.
Massoud uses olive oil as an entree to speak with people because food, especially artisan food products, is a connector for people.
Massoud’s goal isn’t to convince people to pick a side in the Palestine-Israel conflict, but to support Palestine’s 1,700 small-scale farmers and peace in the world.
Zatoun is the Arabic word for olive, a universal symbol of peace, warmth, light and divinity.
Massoud also picked the name because the olive is also a symbol of Palestine and is widely grown in the West Bank and Gaza Strip regions, where many Palestinians live and grow olives.
Massoud’s talks will cover the Zatoun story, fair trade, colonialism, Zionism, Israel-Palestine peace and the Holy Land, depending on what topic the event host group is interested in.
On March 2, Massoud speaks at UBC Okanagan at 4:30 p.m. The title of his presentation will be More than Fair Trade: A Zatoun Case Study.
Massoud gives the same presentation at 7 p.m. March 3 at the Kelowna campus of Okanagan College.
At 2 p.m. March 3, Massoud covers a different topic at First Mennonite Church with a talk titled Get on Board the Israel-Palestine Peace Train.
The topic is similar when he presents What’s Holding Up the Israel-Palestine Peace Train on March 4 at First United Church, beginning at 7 p.m.
On Saturday at Winfield United Church, the topic is Settler-Colonialism, beginning at 9 a.m.
Massoud’s other stops are in Penticton (Land of Miracles,
10 a.m. at Oasis United Church) and Summerland (Settler-Colonialism, 2 p.m. at the Summerland Arts & Culture Centre) on March 1; three talks in Vernon on March 5 and 8; three in Kamloops on March 6; and Salmon Arm on March 7.
All of the talks are free to attend, but donations are welcome.
For all events, Massoud will be accompanied by Debbie Hubbard of Kelowna, who is a member of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Amnesty International and First United Church.
Hubbard will also bring along Zatoun extra-virgin olive oil for sale at all stops for $20 for a 750-millilitre bottle.
Hubbard is also the year-round Zatoun representative in the Okanagan. She sells the olive oil by the bottle and the case.
Those interested can email her at email@example.com or call her at 250-469-4468.
You can pick the oil up at First United Church or from Hubbard, or she or one of the others in the network in the Okanagan will deliver.
Proceeds from the sale of the certified fair-trade and organic oil go to support Palestinian farmers, olive press operators, bottlers, printers, carton makers and labourers; to women who have lost their husbands to war, injury or imprisonment; to Palestinian youth in refugee camps; for planting more olive trees; and promoting awareness of Palestine.
The Globally Fair store at 2001 Tutt St. in Kelowna also sells Zatoun oil by bottle.
You can also buy it online at Zatoun.com.