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Italy Gifts ‘Olive Tree’ To First Lady

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Olive Tree 1Impressed by her commitment to healthy living, Italy has decided to dedicate a seventh century olive tree to the First Lady Michelle Obama. The tree is named “La Regina” or “The Queen” and it is growing in the Puglia region of the country. The announcement came on the second day of the "Med-Italian Diet Festival", which promotes healthy eating and gardening, just like Mrs. Obama. Read on to know more about the olive tree and Italy’s gift to the White House:


1) The Olive Tree


The Italian olive oil exports to the US have steadily declined in the recent years. Thus, the dedication of this seventh-century tree to the First Lady is a significant announcement. Apart from the announcement, there is a dedication ceremony, which includes signing of an “official document.” The document names Michelle Obama as the honoree while the “Province Council of Lecce” will be represented by the President, Antonio Gabellone as well as by the Chairman of Agriculture, Francesco Pacella. The ceremony will also be attended by Ines Maria Antonucci, who owns the land on which the olive tree grows.


2) The Declaration


Heaping praise on the First Lady, the Italian government proclaims in its dedication, “Because she conceived, launched and promoted the fitness campaign called ‘Let’s Move!’, through which a very important social service has been carried out in order to help the American families and their kids to grow up in a healthier way, achieving a lifestyle based on a diet rich in vegetables, fruit and natural products as well as based on an intense physical activity. This lifestyle blends well with the principles of the Mediterranean Diet, discovered in Italy by the American scientist Ancel Keys, which has lately deserved the important UNESCO award as ‘Intangible Heritage of Humanity.’”


3) The Med-Italian Diet Festival


The four-day festival celebrates the Mediterranean diet in a big way and, as everybody knows, olive oil stands at the center of this diet. Promoting vegetable and olive oil consumption in a major way, the olive tree, with a circumference of about 14m, also signifies how close Italy finds Michelle Obama’s dietary principles to its own diet. The festival organizers – “Economic and Technical Institute of Lecce,” “Coldiretty of Lecce,” “Lecce Province,” and “Chamber of Commerce of Lecce” – have together dedicated the tree to Michelle. In a press release, the festival organizers said, “The reason for this award is the great and important engagement lately shown by the President’s wife to encourage American people and, above all, the children and their families, to follow a healthier lifestyle based on the main principles of the Mediterranean Diet.”


4) The Gifts from the Olive Tree Olive Tree 2


The dedication is not enough because next fall, the organizers would be sending to the White House, a range of gifts, including about a 100 litres of extra virgin olive oil, from the seventh century tree. The olive oil is intended for the First Family’s use but keeping in mind the quantity, it is more likely that Michelle Obama would further distribute it among her staff, friends and family. The tree is described as being of the variety “Ogliarola Leccese” and it produces about 6 quintals of olives every year, which are enough to make up to 100kgs of extra virgin olive oil.


Since there are strict protocols regarding food gifts given to the First Family, there has been no official word yet on this Italian dedication. Since White House chefs are known to use olive oil in many a recipes, it would be interesting to know what the First Lady would do with the olive tree and so much of olive oil next fall.


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Italy Gifts ‘Olive Tree’ To First Lady