Olief - Sustainable farmers sowing the seed of knowledge
This farm’s unique name stems from a combination of two words: olive, for what they grow, and “lief” – Afrikaans for “love” – for how they grow it. Olief’s singular focus on this fruit has led them to create award-winning products while also being able to focus on the impact they have on the land they farm. Permaculture principles are an important part of their operation, using biodynamic concepts and regenerative methods to ensure the sustainability and environmentally friendly nature of their farm. Putting these practices in place was no easy task and came at the cost of years of trial and error – through which Olief has created a base of knowledge that they aim to share with others.
When asked why they started the farm, Olief’s Nix van der Westhuizen replied, “[we wanted] to create a sustainable example from which to teach.” Education about farming in a sustainable fashion is hard to come by and many small-scale farmers also struggle to compete with their industrial counterparts, whose operations generally produce larger but less nutritious produce, which they’re then able to sell at a price which locks out smaller competitors. Without this economy of scale, small farmers need to turn to monoculture methods of growing in order to save time and money. However, these methods are inefficient and reinforce an unstable food system that degrades the soil and causes unnecessary pollution.
Olief aims to alter this imbalance by informing future generations of farmers and partnering with projects that are developing new methods for sustainable agriculture. What’s more, Olief also supports small-scale farms by providing them with a means through which they can sell their produce: either on Olief’s e-commerce platform or through a market hosted on the farm.
Over the course of the six years they’ve been around, the farm has grown from a volunteer-based teaching space to a fully-fledged agricultural producer. However, the beliefs they hold have remained steady and the team prides itself as being equitable, educational, and active in their community.
The quality of their products is just one of the many reasons behind Olief’s success and why we’re so pleased that they’re able to provide UCOOK with olive oil, cauliflower, and micro-greens. To create each bottle of olive oil, three varieties of olives – specifically, frontoio, leccino and corritina olives – are picked by hand, gathered with nets and carried over to their mill. The olives are pressed on the farm on the same day that they’re harvested, then the oil is left to settle, filtered, and finally bottled before making its way to you.