Farmers in the Palestinian West Bank have harvested olives for generations. A full 45 percent of agricultural land in the territory is used to grow olives, employing 100,000 Palestinians. But that livelihood is in danger, as the Israeli military has uprooted olive trees to make room for new settlers, and those Israeli settlements have seized much of the Palestinian water supply.
“The olive tree plays a very important role as a symbol of our perseverance,” said Vivien Sansour from the Canaan Fair Trade network which supports Palestinian fair-trade olive farmers. “Planting an olive tree is a huge message of hope. When you plant an olive tree, you’re planting a vision for the future.”
The UpTake’s Jacob Wheeler and Michigan-based videographer Aaron Dennis will travel across the West Bank in early February to document the struggles of Palestinian olive farmers in conjunction with the Run Across Palestine — a philanthropic effort that will feature half a dozen Midwestern athletes running 129 miles in five days — virtually a marathon every day — across the West Bank to raise money for those farmers.
Wheeler and Dennis will post their videos and blog updates on The UpTake. Look for them this month.