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An alternative option towards Alzheimer's prevention: discover the story of Yannis Prodromou


Yannis Prodromou

“We want to think of ourselves as modern farmers, because we collaborate and partake of scientific research, creating a breach between what is old and new in our sector. We want to participate in the lives of our clients and to reach out to as many people as possible.”

ARTOLIO is a project that strives to promote innovation, and so do the farmers who participate in it. Yannis Prodromou, Greek olive oil producer from the Thessaloniki region, is a fine example of what the will to adapt and change can do for one’s own business.

Yannis’ unique cultivating and harvesting process is the secret to the quality of his extra virgin olive oil. He only uses early harvest green olives for his products, collected in early September, when the olives are still lacking some of their oily contents, and hand-picked personally to ensure the product's high quality. There is also a minimal amount of fertilizers used in the cultivation process. This also ensures the olives keep some of their most beneficial properties, such as high contents of Omega-3, 9 and vitamin E.


However, in summer 2021, Yannis’ innovative ideas transcended from the cultivation process of his groves into the market thanks to the help of scientific research.

According to the Panhellenic Federation of Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders, there are over 1 million cases of people affected by Alzheimer disease in Greece. Thus, Yannis wondered if the quality of our food or the diet we partake in could prevent or reduce the possibility of coming down with the disease.

After his participation in research with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, it was brought upon the attention of the public that some of the properties of high-quality extra virgin olive oil are a therapeutic strategy against the possibility of contracting Alzheimer, if combined with a healthy Mediterranean diet.

This is how the Micoil project was born.

Micoil is a natural product made of early harvest green olives of the Halkidiki variety specifically designed to be sold in pharmacies. At first, it was nothing but an idea, because if the product were to be sold the demand would exceed the capacity of what Yanni’s Olive Grove (Yannis Prodromou’s brand) could produce on its own.

However, what first seemed to be an impossible feat started to become a possibility thanks partly to Yannis participation in the ARTOLIO project. Yannis needed to find more partners that could produce and supply high-quality extra virgin olive oil to double the production and meet the expectations of target customers, and the ARTOLIO global platform has given him and his brand an opportunity to contact other producers outside his region.

In Yannis’s own words; “We want to think of ourselves as modern farmers because we collaborate and partake of scientific research, creating a breach between what is old and new in our sector. We want to participate in the lives of our clients and to reach out to as many people as possible.”

Moreover, while the cultivation process is what ensures the quality of the product, Yannis faced some problems regarding the cost of production, since Halkidiki, the region Yannis originates from, lacks great water supplies for irrigation. Therefore, irrigation and fertilizing techniques were usually pricier, and thus the final product would turn out pricier than necessary. With this in mind, and knowing this was a hindrance to the success of his personal project, some funding from ARTOLIO went to the modernization of the cultivation process. “In a sense, Micoil exists thanks to the help provided by this project, because of its network and the possibility it offered for us to best our means.”

Yannis Prodromou participates as a beneficiary of the ARTOLIO project, funded by the European Union under the ENI program.

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Blas Lanagrán, olive oil producer from Spain


Blas Lanagrán

"ARTOLIO has opened the doors to us to the environmental protection of our olive grove"

The ARTOLIO project's main objective is to benefit its participants. It is a people-oriented project and it prides itself on providing the necessary help to the farmers who are part of it. Blas Lanagrán, the protagonist of this story, is one of the many participants who has witnessed the results of the project first-hand.

Blas's family consisted mainly of bakers. However, forty years ago, after inheriting a vast farmland located in the area of Jaén (region of Andalucía, south of Spain), his relatives decided to venture into the world of the olive tree. However, until now, Blas had not been able to sell his own olive oil. In addition, the irrigation system that was installed until the beginning of this year did not match the needs of the crop nor did it respect the needs of the environment. In other words, despite the prosperity of the olive harvest, Blas did not have the means to create a commercial brand nor develop his harvesting system towards one that was more respectful with the environment.

The olives used for her award-winning organic and extra virgin Consequently, the funds earmarked for Blas were invested in infrastructure and the guidance necessary to commercialize the oil. Thus, the project has opened the doors to the environmental protection of our olive grove with the implementation of an irrigation system with photovoltaic panels, which completely separates us from the fossil fuels that we were using and how much damage they are doing to the planet and to our environment”, assures Blas, after the installation of the new irrigation system.

Thanks to the project, Blas now enjoys “something that we had in mind for many years and that we thought we would never achieve”: being able to market his own extra virgin olive oil and contribute to the environment with which he lives and works every day.

Hadas Lahav participates as a beneficiary of the ARTOLIO project, funded by the European Union under the ENI program.


ARTOLIO partner Salah Abu Eisheh, from Palestine: “The progress of ARTOLIO in supporting olive farmers is clear and significant”


Salah Abu Eisheh

"The progress of ARTOLIO in supporting olive farmers is clear and significant"


The ARTOLIO team is made up of a great variety of participants, from different places, regions and customs. Therefore, the variety is not only in the olives with which the oil of our farmers is made, but also in the Mediterranean culture that is intrinsic to the project. Among the partners that make up the team, we also find this variety reflected, and they are all united by the same nexus: helping farmers attain good quality extra virgin olive oil within the frame of sustainability.

Salah Abu Eisheh, director of the Palestinian Center for Agricultural Research and Development (PCARD), is one of ARTOLIO's agricultural experts stationed in Palestine. There, Salah works side by side with the farmers and millers of the area to improve the quality of their extra virgin olive oil, reduce production costs, optimize the natural resources and support their local economy. He has also coordinated from the PCARD some events such as the participation of some farmers and millers from Palestine in the Jordanian Olive National Festival 2021, with the joint effort of the Israeli & Palestinian Olive Oil Council.

Salah joined the ARTOLIO project in the early stage of its concept development, through his connections in the PCARD, and gave the project designers a clear idea about the nature and characteristics of the olive oil sector in Palestine. This enabled them to open the discussion of "what they should do" to upgrade and develop the olive oil sector in Palestine, something much needed. Since the start of ARTOLIO, PCARD is effectively engaged in all its national and regional activities.

When asked about the progress made so far in his area, Salah comments that “The progress is clear and significant, farmers moved on from olive dry-farming to full-irrigation farming, they started filtering their oil for the first time because of ARTOLIO’s intervention and support. Considering producing high quality oil was the farmers’ priority, now they can concentrate on their other problems while striving to maintain that quality.” These problems, according to Salah, are still some concerns for the future of the project. More efforts should be put in the area of marketing. Farmers now can produce a very high quality olive oil and they know how to track the quality. However, they lack the means and connections to access a competitive market. Connecting producers with potential customers is the key for the ARTOLIO success.

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Demetris Taliotis, Cypriot beneficiary of ARTOLIO


Demetris Taliotis

"Extra virgin olive oil is not a luxury, or at least it shouldn't be."


When thinking about olive oil production, there is the modern notion of exporting to other countries but, at the very core of olive oil production, there has always been a sense of identity, an underlining that speaks of culture. The local market has always been a fundamental pillar in the sector, as it provides farmers with consumers who are known to them, and consumers with the knowledge that the oil they use for cooking comes from their land. Dimitris Taliotis, ARTOLIO's beneficiary from the Cyprus region, believes in this inherent identity that follows the olive oil tradition and has centered his entire work philosophy around the idea that olive oil is a cultural product, something that must be preserved.

“If you go to a supermarket in the UK, you will find more choices on the shelves than in any supermarket in Cyprus, despite the fact that the UK is not an olive oil producing country. My dream is to see the shelves in Cyprus full of oil made in our land, something that would be inherently ours.” Demetris and its brand, Aparthenasa, sell extra virgin olive oil locally, with the aim of enriching the local Cyprus market. Coming from a non-traditional farming family, Demetris started his working career in the marketing field, but somehow all his projects revolved around the food theme and that is how he discovered his interest in olive oil. After a while, he and his wife decided to train in olive growing and bought an abandoned olive grove to start farming.

ARTOLIO helped Demetris with his new project by installing a much-needed high-end irrigation system, but if there is one thing he appreciates about this project, it is the farming community that has originated in Cyprus thanks to the involvement in ARTOLIO. “What I do now gives me comfort, and I feel well-supported by my partners. When my orchard burned down last year, they helped me when I needed it most, and I'm grateful for that.”

Camille Jehl

Camille Jehl, An inexhaustible source of creativity


Camille Jehl

"When the opportunity arose, we jumped at the chance!"


Monique and Camille Jehl are not afraid of risk and can act as they please, as they did when they bought an abandoned olive grove in 2001. “A friend of mine was selling 7 hectares,” says Monique, “without ever having worked on trees. My husband loved this place, where he came on vacation every other summer since he was a child. So, when the opportunity arose, we jumped at the chance!”

An additional 1200 trees were planted in 2006, resulting in a varied production: a Delicatezza range, fruity and ripe; Verdura and Ardente, fruity and green. The three are directly collected from the tree every year. In 2018, at the age 28, Camille joined the family after finishing her studies, armed with solid knowledge of agricultural practices. Then, they initiated the creation of a 250-head chicken farm. “I wanted to diversify the farm, with a second interest in mind: to prevent and limit the ravages of the olive fruit fly (Bractocera oleae),” explains the young woman. Marc, her partner, takes care of it with white clay treatments, as required by organic farming.

Soon, a new activity will be launched at Domaine des Oliviers de Giuseppone: the “camping on the farm” will welcome amateurs and lovers of working the land.

Hadas Lahav

Hadas Lahav, Sindianat HaGalil businesswoman


Hadas Lahav

“All our business activity is aimed at supporting women, sustainability, and modernization of the fields”: ARTOLIO beneficiary 'Syndianna of Galilee'


Born in a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, Hadas has been working on various agricultural projects since she was very young. She is the CEO and one of the founders of “Sindyanna of Galilee”, a fair trade association of Arab and Jewish women created in 1996. Sindyanna develops sustainable agriculture methods (especially for olive groves), produces and sells high-quality organic olive oil.

Combining local tradition, modern know-how and excellent olive varieties, her team can produce balanced, premium olive oils that offer distinctive character, satisfying bitterness, tingling spiciness and a unique peppery flavor that lingers on the palate. Her organic olive oils (Extra Peaceful OO) include Barne'a, Coratina and Suri cultivars. As for Sindyanna's house blend (Extra Unified OO), it is composed of oils from their fair trade olive groves. Contains Barne'a, Coratina and Picual varieties.

The olives used for her award-winning organic and extra virgin olive oils are grown in olive groves located amidst the hills and valleys of the Galilee in northern Israel. The organic olive groves in the village of Deir Hanna are the first certified by an international organic certifier in the area. The olives are picked from the trees and, within hours of harvesting, are cold pressed and stored in airtight churns to capture their fresh flavor and aroma. Her team stores, packs and sells the olive oil from their organic and fair trade warehouse in Cana of Galilee.

Hadas Lahav participates as a beneficiary of the ARTOLIO project, funded by the European Union under the ENI program.