Festa de l’Unita’ is a “social-democratic celebration in Italy, originally organised by the Italian Communist Party to finance and spread its official newspaper l’Unità (“Unity”), and now organised by Partito Democratico.” It’s a huge social event, especially in Emilia-Romagna, and I was lucky enough to attend Bologna’s FEST’UNITA 2011. I was told by my hosts: Fabio & Ale that most of the people working in these stalls are volunteers; they’re not interested in making money, they’re just there to promote a better world (free bread with a small offer to support children in Africa, etc.).
To contribute to the cause, we decided to eat dinner in the Libera Terra (free land) stall; to take a gastronomic stand against the mafia.
What is Libera Terra? The Italian government takes land from the mafia that was paid with “dirty money” (illegal activities), and according to Italian Law Law n. 109/96 Libera Terra is given to third parties to use for community projects. “During the 13 years since its it passing, the law has converted to use for the community more than 4500 real estate properties (apartments, villas and lands). The confiscated lands in Sicily, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Lazio have been taken over by cooperatives of students and have produced oil, wine, pasta, taralli, legumes, preserves and other organic goods.”
The cuisine offered at the stall restaurant were dishes from Sicily, and even though the food wasn’t that great (when working big events like these, most dishes are premade and reheated), I was content with the message behind the meal.