Every year, Zaytoun organises two trips to Palestine for its supporters and customers. Both of these trips are timed to coincide with the annual olive harvest, usually around the end of October and early November. The “harvest tour” offers customers the chance to visit many of the communities who supply our products from Nablus soap-makers to olive farmers in Jenin, as well as some support and advocacy organisations who work on behalf of these communities against the injustices of the Israeli occupation. Often the trip ends with a harvest celebration in Jenin, including traditional Palestinian food and dance. Accommodation for the week’s trip is in local hotels or with farmers’ families. The “Olive Picking Trip” is a chance for volunteers to work for a fortnight alongside the olive farmers in the groves and enable them to bring their valuable harvest home. Zaytoun has worked with the International Women’s Peace Service since 2005 to coordinate the teams’ placement within different villages in the Salfit and Nablus areas. All volunteers complete an initial application form, followed by a telephone interview and a training and assessment weekend in Britain before acceptance onto the team.
A comprehensive report from one of the 2011 picking team can be read here: Olive Picking in the West Bank