Members of the Palestinian Feminist Collective will be discussing olive trees, oil, and fruit through a Palestinian indigenous framework. Olive cultivation began in the fertile, mountainous region of the Galilee in Historic Palestine 7,000 years ago. For generations, Palestinians have sustained, nurtured, and harvested olives which have become synonymous with Palestinian land, culture, and identity. Palestinian land cultivators, including olive farmers, often remark at how, when Palestinians take care of the land, the land takes care of the Palestinian people.

The olive tree has come to signify the symbiotic relationship between the people and the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, one rooted in Palestinian values of reciprocity, obligation to and love for the land, and the deep connection to ancestral tradition and ritual. As olive harvesters share, “Our trees are our ancestors, too”. Every part of the olive is used to sustain Palestinian life: Olive wood is used to make prayer beads and woodcarvings. Jift, the remaining pits after oil extraction, is recycled and used as an energy source for light and to heat furnaces in the winter. Palestinians gifted olive oil at celebrations, used it to repay debts, and shipped it abroad to exiled family members. In 1948, this relationship was destroyed with dire consequences to the Indigenous Palestinian people and the environments they’ve protected for thousands of years.

This 2-hour knowledge share brings together an Indigenous perspective on olives from Palestine where they were cultivated over 7000 years ago. Moving from a studied analysis of the olive tree, the Palestinian Feminist Collective will explore plant preservation in the Palestinian diaspora, cooking practices geared at working people and moms inspired by Palestine’s olive oil, and an interactive session on the process of making and distributing olive oil in ways that are consistent with these thousands-year-old traditions brought to the world by their ancestors. They will integrate joyful music sung at our October olive harvests in Palestine.



$35 – low income

$50 – standard

$75 – pay-it-forward (if you have financial abundance, this is our pay-it-forward option to fund our full tuition scholarships)

Please apply here for a scholarship.

Accessibility Information

*ASR (automated) captioning provided

Virtual Gathering

The knowledge share zoom link will be sent out automatically upon purchase, along with any other necessary information.

*PLEASE NOTE: this event has been POSTPONED to January/February 2024. The date and time will be announced shortly. Thank you!

5:00pm – 7:00pm Eastern Standard Time

Class will be recorded and available for 30 days.

Facilitator (s)

Dr. Lila Sharif (she/her)  is a creative writer, researcher, and assistant professor at the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She teaches, researches and publishes on environmental justice, Indigenous epistemologies, and ethnic and racial studies. She is currently co-editing A Decolonial Guidebook to Historic Palestine as well as a book on the Indigenous significance of Palestine’s olive tree. She is a co-founding member of the Critical Refugee Studies Collective as well as a co-founding member of the Palestinian Feminist Collective’s Life Affirming group along with Leena Odeh . Sharif is the first Palestinian to earn a Ph.D. in ethnic studies. She holds a dual PhD in Sociology and Ethnic Studies.

Nadia Barhoum is a member of Second Generation Seeds and the founder of Thurayya, a seed-saving and land stewardship project to recover and reconnect ties to her ancestral lands in Palestine and the SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) region. She loves hearing seed stories and learning more about the ancestral lineages and cultural traditions around plants, farming, and the cosmos.

Lujain Al-Saleh  (she/her) is a public health advocate, organizer, and writer based in Oakland, California. Over the past decade, Lujain has collaborated on a wide range of environmental justice campaigns relating to air quality, pollution, and a just transition in the Bay Area. Currently, Lujain is a Young Climate Leaders of Color (YCLC) Fellow through the People’s Climate Innovation Center and an Education/Organizing Associate at Frontline Catalysts, an Oakland-based climate justice leadership program for youth in Oakland. Lujain holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management with minors in Middle East & South Asia Studies and Professional Writing from UC Davis. She also received her Master of Public Health in Global Heath & Environment from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Selma Al-Aswad is Palestinian-Syrian community organizer and researcher based in Seattle, and a member of the Palestinian Feminist Collective.