Italian families in Sicily and Reggio di Calabria are passionate about growing quality lemons and bergamot, in order to produce high grade essential oil. The Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative in Italy allows doTERRA to assist growers with this process by providing financial opportunities amidst a struggling economy.
Lemon and Bergamot in Italy
Lemon orchards have flourished in Italy for many years, making areas like Sicily and Calabria optimum sourcing spots for Lemon essential oil. Producing lemon essential oil requires the use of the expression distillation process known as “cold pressing.” Unlike other essential oil distillation processes, cold pressing consists of using high mechanical pressure (rather than heat) to squeeze the oil from the rind of the plant.
The bergamot fruit is particularly special to Italy because Reggio di Calabria is the only area on earth where it is grown. Compared to other citrus plants, bergamot is rather unique. Though it is a bitter fruit, it produces a sweet essential oil. Originally, bergamot was introduced to Reggio di Calabria by the Canary Islands, because it requires a specific climate in order to thrive. Reggio di Calabria is an ideal home for bergamot because the acidic soil and fresh air from the sea actually strengthen the bergamot trees, allowing them to produce the finest fruit for creating Bergamot essential oil.
For decades, Sicilian families have grown lemon and bergamot—handing their orchards down from generation to generation. Today, new machinery and technology has made it easier to grow, harvest, and produce lemon and bergamot oil. A work load that once took 50 employees an entire season to complete can now be done in a single day because of useful machinery.
Because growing, sourcing and producing lemon and bergamot oil is a long-time family tradition, many Sicilian citrus growers feel extremely passionate about their work. They are dedicated to their orchards, and want to see the process of producing lemon essential oil from beginning to end to ensure a high level of quality. Despite their passion for growing lemon and bergamot, many growers have had to close down and abandon their orchards over the years, due to economic downturn.
doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative in Italy
Through the Italy doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative, several family orchards and distilleries have been able to expand their business, and see the industry they love flourish in Sicily and Reggio di Calabria. Growers have benefitted from the ability to provide jobs amidst a struggling economy, and increase their production significantly. Many families in the surrounding areas have been given jobs, keeping them from migrating to Northern Italy, or leaving the country completely. doTERRA’s demand for lemon and bergamot has ensured that growers have consistent work and will receive fair wages for their labour.
This Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative strives to align doTERRA’s objectives with the specific goals of the citrus growers. The growers are concerned with taking care of their families, creating jobs, helping boost the economy, and maintaining quality—all of which are accomplished through the Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative in Italy. Most importantly, the doTERRA Co-Impact Sourcing Initiative has allowed families in Sicily and Calabria to continue the family tradition of growing lemons and bergamot, keeping their passion and culture alive.