In the spirit of the Shmita, which is based on values of equity and social justice, it was decided that olives harvested in open areas of the KKL-JNF forests will be moved to an olive press and used to produce olive oil that will be donated to tens of thousands of poor families. This is a one-in-seven-years opportunity to harvest the olives and deliver the product in full.
The olive harvest season is held between October and December. To make the most of the harvested olives, the HaShomer HaChadash organization operated a volunteer call center for the social olive harvest, inviting tens of thousands of people from all over the country to come to forests and help with the important task. Volunteers came from everywhere: youth groups, schools, military units, commercial companies and social organizations. The harvest included special agricultural activity at the KKL-JNF olive grove of Umm al-Zinat – Elyakim Forest, Lavie Forest and Ofer Forest in Northern Israel, and at the Ayalon-Canada Park in Central Israel. So far, over 8,000 man and women volunteered, and 20,000 volunteers are expected to participate.
Avraham Duvdevani, KKL-JNF Chairman: "I am very happy with the new collaboration with the HaShomer HaChadash organization. We expect to welcome thousands to volunteers that will reach the KKL-JNF forests and harvest the olives. It is a wonderful collaboration the brings the public closer to the nature and the forests."
Bat-El Asulin, manager of the agricultural experience section at the HaShomer HaChadash organization: "The social olive harvest is a unique project that brings together the need for presence in the nature with the Israeli society's will to contribute. Since the beginning of the project, thousands of participants came to the KKL-JNF forests all over the country and harvested the olive trees that were not nurtured all throughout the Shmita period. Watching the tens of thousands of volunteers reconnect with the land was an empowering experience. We invite the Israeli public to come to the fields and vineyards all throughout the year and volunteer to agricultural work."