SAN ANTONIO, Texas — With a hard-earned U.S. Department of Agriculture signoff now in hand, Trees With Meaning Inc. (TreesWithMeaning.com) becomes one of the first companies in the U.S. approved to bring living olive trees from Israel to the North American market. For owners-and brothers-Bruno and Jerome Schneider, building the company was an intricate business challenge requiring four years of negotiations, planning and inspired persistence. The Schneiders organized a small, elite family of handpicked Israeli growers near the Jordan River and elsewhere, navigated a web of international permits and built a stateside infrastructure to shelter and nourish the hardy, fast-growing young trees as they arrive in the U.S.
The symbol-rich olive tree is as tough as it is beautiful. It thrives even in desert areas, grows rapidly and produces fruit even in harsh conditions. The olive tree is an ideal candidate for outdoor life in the states in growing zones 8 and above, or potted and living contentedly on the garden deck or in a sunny corner of the living room.
Launching a new company whose cornerstone message is rooted in spirit and whose initial product is living olive trees from Israel is more than a little daring in times like these. Still, it is a mission the Schneiders are dedicated to achieving with their unique nature-based company. “The olive tree remains a world symbol of peace, prosperity and hope,” says Jerome Schneider, “and this is a primary reason we chose it to be the first we would bring to market. Our intention for TreesWithMeaning.com (www.TreesWithMeaning.com) is to create a successful company inspired by nature and contribute to the spread of positive values in the world. Olive trees from the holy land are, for us, an ideal beginning.”
Each olive tree from TreesWithMeaning.com will arrive with a certificate of authenticity, detailed care instructions and metaphoric roots that reach back to ancient times in the land of Israel and intertwine richly with early Jewish and Christian cultures. The history of the olive tree family (Olea europaea) encompasses millennia of positive symbolism. The fruit and oil of olive groves has been a source of wealth and stability throughout the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. The olive branch has symbolized hope and peace since biblical times and olive laurels crowned the champions of ancient Olympic Games. Today, potted house versions commonly live in Israeli homes as symbols of blessing and prosperity and on a more global note, millions of Israeli olive trees are being planted in desert regions of Northern India and elsewhere to reforest exhausted lands and promote goodwill.
At a recent fund-raising gala in Austin, Texas for One World Theatre and Kids Reach, an arts program benefitting children, the Schneiders donated for auction the first three of the initial release of 2,500 olive trees their company will begin selling in the U.S. The Israeli olive trees – in their North American debut – met with an enthusiastic reception on the bidding floor, bringing One World and Kids Reach several thousand dollars.
The company will market their unique trees as ideal gifts to mark important occasions – births, weddings, new homes – and as meaningful additions to church and synagogue landscapes, prayer gardens and meditation retreats. Priced around $475, olive trees from the holy land will be sold only online at www.TreesWithMeaning.com and through special partnership programs with religious centers, churches and synagogues.