August, for Italians, means one thing: vacations. The coast is crowded with tourists from all over the world who enjoy carefree and relaxing days on the beach from North to South. Nevertheless, the Libera Terra staff is busily at work until late in its offices in Sicily to manage the production and distribution of Libera Terra products that, since 2008, connect quality and an ethical commitment.
“Libera (Freed). Associations, Names and Numbers Against Mafia Organizations” is a network that involves more than 1,600 regionally-based associations, groups, and schools committed to constructing political-cultural synergies and spreading a culture of legality. It was created in 1995 by Father Luigi Ciotti with the purpose of supporting civil society in its fight against organized crime.
In 2012 Libera was on the list prepared by “The Global Journal” of the one hundred best NGOs — the only Italian community empowerment organization and the first non-profit organization on the list.
This first project in 2008 gave birth to Libera Terra Mediterraneo (Free Mediterranean Land ), a non-profit consortium that involves social cooperatives and other operators that share the principles of legality and equity. It manages properties confiscated from the mafia according to the Law n. 109/96 on the use of real estate confiscated from organized crime.
Libera Terra’s goal is giving dignity to territories characterized by a strong mafia presence, through the creation of autonomous and self-sustainable cooperatives, in order to provide new jobs and create a positive and virtuous economic system based on legality and social justice.
Highly qualified professionals from different backgrounds work to produce and sell quality goods, with a great price/value relationship including wine, pasta, honey, sweet and savory preserves, Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella), and EVOO.
Cooperatives can be visited according to the criteria of responsible tourism and they are accessible to hundreds of people each year through volunteer camps that offer environmental and farming education, in addition to an ethics training based on joint responsibility, civic engagement and commitment against corruption. This summer 52 such camps are working all over Italy.
Three different EVOOs are produced and sold in the most prestigious distribution channels, both in Italy and in many foreign countries.
In Sicily, Libera Terra’s farmers supervise young olive groves composed of Nocellara del Belice, Biancolilla and Nocellara Etnea allocated between the province of Catania and the Province of Palermo, precisely in the Alto Belice Corleonese area. They combine these varieties with Cellina di Nardò, Ogliarola Salentina and Leccino from Salento, to create the extra virgin olive oil Libera Terra.
A secular olive grove consisting of Ogliarola Salentina and Cellina di Nardò grown in the sandy and calcareous soil of Brindisi area is exclusively dedicated to the production of “Libera Terra Secular” EVOO.
The flagship product is the DOP Valle del Belice Libera Terra which is dedicated, according to the Libera Terra website, Barbara Rizzo, Giuseppe and Salvatore Asta, who were killed by a car bomb intended to assassinate a judge. It is produced with young plants of Nocellara del Belice from the tuffaceous soil of Castelvetrano, Sicily.
The olive groves are all cultivated under dry land conditions and the farming system is clearly organic, according to the basic principles of the project.
This outstanding union of ethics and quality transmits the great message that you can reach high quality through an equitable and fair approach. As if to say that the success can be achieved if the resources and the methods are fair and honest.