Forchheim on the way to becoming a fair-trade town

Since her visit to kenya, margit wunsche knows what she's talking about. Seeing the production conditions in african factories has strengthened her conviction in the fair trade idea. The forchheim native works voluntarily in the world store and is one of 21 members of the steering group that has succeeded in making forchheim a "fair trade town" to make. The official certificate will be presented on 5. July at 14 o'clock in the town hall handed over.

To make that happen, the steering group promoted the idea to the business community. "People are skeptical at first, many think fair trade products are very expensive", says margit wunsche, who "wished for more encouragement" had. "It's not easy for people to understand that this is about fair wages, about the survival of poor people, about their health and their education."

Forchheim, cosmopolitan
The city has now been working on this certification since november 2011, says andreas schneider, who manages the process at the city. He wrote to 24 restaurants and cafes, 13 food stores and 35 clothing stores. The "fair trade" seal also stands for a piece of "cosmopolitanism" in forchheim, schneider says.

Manfred hummer (spokesman for the steering group and city councilor) emphasizes that the minimum target was exceeded. Seven retailers and four restaurateurs had been the minimum for certification. Now there are twelve individual retailers and eight restaurants and bars. 22 companies, schools and associations. Although it is difficult to approach each businessman individually, says hummer, the general openness is enormous. He is especially happy about the "contagious effect" the idea. In the meantime, there are even global brands like puma that are on the market with fair trade products.

SPD city councilwoman anita kern had called for "fair trade" in the food industry advertised and was met with almost nothing but approval. Nevertheless, she calls what she has achieved a "minimal small step", because the textile industry did Not appear in this campaign. The only exception from forchheim: karin haimann, who sells baby clothes. "Popcorn" her store, which offers a whole range of baby first-aid: blankets, sleeping bags, rompers. The fair trade baby clothes are not even more expensive than the other offers – but so far there is little demand for them. "Apparently the word is not yet out enough."

A shop that wants to advertise with the fair trade seal must sell at least two corresponding products. The weltladen, where josef schiefer works, sells only fair trade products. When he tried to convince other business people, he often encountered prejudices. The most widespread one: the coffee does not taste good. There is no other store with such a variety of quality coffees as the weltladen, says schiefer.

And also the one in st. Martin, a committed city councilor, had to overcome prejudices until he convinced the parish council to serve fair trade coffee at future events. "People need to know how to prepare it, it's stronger and you need less of it." And there's something else that people apparently haven't noticed, says kading: some discounters in forchheim have been offering fair-trade food and flowers for a long time.

But not everyone who wants fair trade then joins the idea as well. Uwe furstmann, for example. He trades in mediterranean delicatessen at the paradeplatz. "My suppliers are so small, they have their business in their own hands and don't exploit anyone." Furstmann is convinced that he is acting fairly when he buys ham from a farmer in northern italy, for example: "i do 'fair trade' in the sense of fair trade, not in the sense of fair labels."

Every seal has to be confirmed and checked and costs money. If you rely on regional products, you don't need this campaign, says furstmann and calls on consumers to "get rid of the seals, get a taste for it."

Manfred hummer finds such appeals misleading. The "fair trade" campaign don't compete with regional products, but ensure fair wages in poor countries. And gertrud lammlein and gunda gebhardt, who volunteer at the world store in forchheim, also see the sale of goods as support for small farmers in faraway countries: "they have to be able to live on it", says lammlein. I've been fighting for this for 40 years," adds gebhardt.