When you are a space ship and you count 117 space travels you don’t particularly care of what you carry. Not only because you are just a rocket which goes up and down from Earth to Space like the most frequent bus route, but simply because you have carried everything during your unique space travels. Or almost everything: Scientist, experiments, tools, exotic costumes, astronauts.
However, if you are an olive seed from the historic Olympia, a landmark of spiritual heritage and you travel to space in the same rocket you instantly become NEWS even if you don’t have the mind and soul to comprehend such a task. The news are that the first olive seeds that had the honor to travel to space are from Olympia and the internationally acclaimed and awarded olive groves of the GOUTIS ESTATE. The olive brand, that has swept the quality gold awards in the most important and reliable international olive oil competitions. The olive seeds travelled to Japan and from there in two air sealed bags to the US and the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, from where the rocket was launched to take them to the outer space. Forty days in conditions of zero gravity, the space shuttle was orbiting around planet Earth. It carries the hope of the new life.
At 02.49 Japan time, in the early morning of June 4, 2021 the rocket that was carrying forty olive seeds was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in USA. But one wonders, why such a fuss for few olive seeds?
It was an idea of the Mayor of the city of Naraha in Japan. A city of the Fukusima region. We all heard ten years ago about the big earthquake in Fukusima that cost human lives and caused an accident at the nuclear plant. The Mayor decided that the symbol of peace and life the olive must commemorate a new era for Japan. And so, the olive seeds from the olive groves of Goutis Estate were chosen for two reasons, first they are from the land of Ancient Olympia and second their olive was awarded the gold award by country–BEST OF GREECE 2020 / GOLD AWARD- in the most important international olive oil competition in Japan, Olive Japan.
As soon as the olive seeds return to Earth they will be planted in Fukusima and Olympia. The olive trees will grow there to remind us the hope that always follows destruction and the eternal bond between the tree of life and the peace among people. A universal message from the ancient land of Olympia for the Olympic Games, organised this year in Japan. The flame of rebirth next to the Olympic flame.
The next step is the simultaneous planting of the olive seeds in the two countries. In Greece and Japan. In Olympia and Naraha.
And so, this space trip and these much travelled olive seeds got a soul, giving a breath of hope and creativity.
The Major of Naraha, Mr. Yukiei Matsumoto, in his statements mentions that: “ “ARIGATO” Host Town for Supporting Reconstruction is a government project which towns affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 will support their partner countries during Tokyo 2020 by expressing their gratitude for partner countries’ contribution to the reconstruction. As our partner country we chose to support Greece, the origin of the Olympic flame when the Torch Relay for Tokyo 2020 was planned to start from the stadium “J Village” in our town Naraha.
As part of an official project delivering relevant gratitude messages by Japanese astronauts from International Space Station to the world and launching memorial items to the space by affected towns, we decided to launch in cooperation with Greek Embassy in Japan Greek olive seeds symbolizing a peace from the Ancient times as a pledge of mutual future affiliation.
When the seeds come back to Naraha from the space this month, we will first devote ourselves to their germination, and hope to replant them in near future to Greece for the purpose of our exchange activities. In particular we hope to build friendship with the municipality of Olympia where the Olympic flame is lit and to visit there someday as Naraha is the town where the Olympic Torch Relay for Tokyo 2020 has started. In addition we wish to keep close relation with Greek people in Japan and to proceed with various exchange activities though the growth of these olive seeds back from the space.”.
Falcon 9 launch (Video NASA):
The Ambassador of Hellenic Republic in Japan, Mr. Cakioussis, in his statements mentions that: “The ark where we all live needs a sign of peace. Thanks to the initiative of the Municipality of Naraha in collaboration with the Municipality of Ancient Olympia, and the kind support of Goutis Estate, the olive will come back to us from space. This is the most beautiful symbol of cooperation, fraternity and peace. A combination of gratitude from the Japanese initiative “ARIGATO” Host Towns, cooperation of the two municipalities and technology, it brings space closer to us, or better us closer to the stars.”.
It’s been a century since the ancestors of the founders of Goutis Estate planted the first olive trees at the historic land of Olympia, the birthplace of Olympic Games, which enriched the history of mankind.
An olive wreath was the prize of the winner at the ancient Olympic Games. The holly tree of Goddess Athena, whose fruits have become the synonym of health and wellness, produces a famous virgin olive oil.
Few years ago, a group of people, who didn’t forget tradition, decided to plant more olive trees of varieties that have conquered the world winning gold medals at international olive oil competitions in London, New York and Tokyo.
In countries, where it is difficult to win over the market and the top gourmet in the world, the Greek olive oil and especially its producers, who have invested in the most modern methods of extraction lift the traditional varieties complying faithfully with the rules of healthy diet.
The panel leader of the international olive oil competition in Berlin Manolis Salivaras highlights that: «This year was a year of improvement for quality Greek olive oils. There were many producers who have improved the level of their products and some have reached the top of their category matching top international producers”
Manolis Salivaras – Panel leader BGOOA
In Tokyo 27 oil-producing countries were competing in April this year. Among the 811 samples, the 105 were Greek. They managed to get 19 gold and 58 silver medals in a very difficult year due to the weather conditions.
The Chairman of the Japan’s Sommelier Olive Oil Association, Toshiya Tada, in his statements regarding the Greek olive oil mentions that: «For Japanese consumers, Greek olive oil is not so popular, unfortunately. While the market size became almost double for those 6 years, the market was dominated by “Italian” olive oil for over 30 years. In 2015, there occurred a significant change as the Spanish olive oil became number one. And most of them are new producers for those started their olive oil business in these 10 years. Regarding the Greek Olive Oil, there are so many high quality olive oil producers in Greece the recent years.»