Community to come together for olive harvest

Friday, 12 May 2023

An innovative community group is making it possible for Greater Geelong residents to have olives from their backyard or nature strip trees processed into olive oil.

As most people find it challenging to make use of the 10-50 kilograms of olives that large trees can produce and businesses need at least 1,000 kilograms to press oil, local residents banded together to find a solution.

The volunteer-run Barwon Oil Barons community group is hosting its third Community Olive Oil Project, with assistance from Council through a $4,921 2021-22 Environmental Sustainability Grant.

Community members are encouraged to drop off their olives at either The Farm Next Door in Norlane, Belmont’s South Barwon Community Centre and the Bellarine Training and Community Hub in Ocean Grove on Sunday 28 May between 1-3pm. Registration is essential.

The olives will be weighed and transported to Mt Moriac Olives where the fruit will be aggregated, and processing will be organised by Geelong Region Olives.

Participants can bring their own containers to collect their oil once it is returned from processing on a yet to be determined date, lessening the need for new packaging.

In 2019, 580 kilograms of olives were turned into oil, while in 2021, the community picked a mighty 1,845 kilograms of locally grown olives.

Mayor Trent Sullivan

Council is thrilled to help fund this clever project.

We know that environmental sustainability and reducing waste is important to our community, so Council wanted to make the project more accessible by extending drop off points.

It’s no wonder that so many community members and groups have reached out to join in and contribute to an exciting project that creates a local olive oil, utilises an existing resource and strengthens community ties.

Barwon Oil Barons founder Rosie Bright

The idea came to me when I moved to Belmont and my trees produced 120 kilograms of olives.

We’ve found that people are thrilled to be involved because it’s too much to organise pressing on their own and they are keen to be reliant on existing local food sources.

It’s a lot of fun to pick the olives but most of all, there is something so special about using olive oil you have contributed to, sharing it with friends and family and cooking with your own produce.

Geelong Region Olives and Mt Moriac Olives have generously provided knowledge and time to facilitate the processing.

Owner Stephen Parker

This is a great community wellbeing initiative that creatively deals with the waste of unharvested olives and provides a delicious healthy benefit to the people involved.

I am proud to support the Barwon Oil Barons and can see this growing into a considerably larger program over time, given the proliferation of the olive trees throughout the suburbs and city fringes across our amazing region.

There are more than 80,000 olive trees within 60 kilometres of Geelong, not including residential and small hobby groves. Building a community program around the fringe of the larger local industry will build on the reputation of our region as a producer of great quality boutique EVO olive oils and help build a loyal local consumer base.

Barwon Oil Barons committee member Heidi Fog, who’s also a local carbon accountant and sustainability consultant, has also generously provided funding for equipment. South Barwon Community Centre is contributing support to this project as well.

The committee of volunteers who run the project consists of Rosie Bright, Alison Lewis-Nicholson, Jan Rockcliff, Heidi Fog, Lachie Chomley, Brendan Bolton and Stephen Parker.

For more information, visit the Barwon Oil Barons page on Facebook. Book in for a drop off time on Sunday 28 May below:

If you expect community members expect that their delivery will be more than 100 kilograms, please email [email protected]

Page last updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2023