STUTTGART – Whether it’s Fair Fashion, Slow Food or environmental tourism, sustainable consumer goods are the trend now, and are winning more and more followers. If you are looking for inspiration, the towns of SouthWest Germany are the place to look. This is where, besides many options for “Green Shopping”, there are also opportunities for food and drink tasting and spending leisure time – and no reason to feel guilty.
Mannheim: “In The Green” indoor farm
For Robert Stimac and his colleague, Verena Mayer, sustainability is not a market strategy, but a life philosophy. As urban indoor farmers in Mannheim, throughout the year they grow microgreens, healthy and aromatic small vegetables and herbs. Their customers include gourmet cooks and restaurants such as “Emma Wolf” and “Luni”, but also caterers and cafeterias. If you would like to take these mini vitamin bombs home, you can contact the farmer directly or visit their online shop. What’s more, the “Nah & Gut” Edeka supermarket in Mannheim has these greens on sale.
Heidelberg: “fremdformat” jewellery studio
When it comes to the production of “fremdformat“ necklaces, bracelets and rings by the Heidelberg jewellery designer, the focus is on re- and upcycling, environmental awareness and the protective use of resources. Julia and Stefanie Gerner create sustainable and unique items of jewellery from waste products of the metal-processing industry, and the rejects, off-cuts and chads used are always what determine the shape of the jewellery. Precious metals and stones are problematic and deliberately avoided, and for gilded or silver products only recycled materials are used.
Pforzheim: “HoferFAHRung” cycle tour
Since spring 2020, there has been a special cycle route inviting you to get to know Pforzheim’s natural environment. The first route, the “HoferFAHRung” tour, covers about 50 kilometres, and takes you from the town centre to agricultural holdings in the north of Enz district that would like to introduce their work and products to interested cyclists. In conversation with the producers or via the information panels along the way, you can gain close-up insight into this “model organic region”. With so much variety, even the laborious uphill cycle, climbing 447 m, is soon forgotten. In addition, long descents and fresh local produce make up for it. Two more similar farm tours are already planned. These should cover the eastern and western parts of Enz district.
Karlsruhe: “FaireWare” shop
In the middle of Karlsruhe (known as the Partitioned City) there is a shop where consumer awareness is celebrated: “FaireWare” has useful, sustainably produced, fair-trade and, at the same time, attractive everyday items of all kinds. From an electrical appliance to a handbag, owner Gabriele Merx selects her product range based on the value of nature and the environment, and offers her customers the opportunity to shop without pangs of conscience. Various pictograms provide information on the raw materials used, production conditions and the environmentally friendly nature of the goods. You can get an overview of the shop and product range on the web page. And the products can also be ordered and delivered to your home via the online shop.
Baden-Baden: Maier vineyard
At Maier organic vineyard there are “wines which make an impact”. Quite literally, since the boss, Volker Maier, besides being a winemaker, is also a shot-putter. Enthusiasm, self-discipline and perfectionism are the recipe for success for this two-metre-tall man. On the sports field and in the vineyard. The formula is proving its worth: wines with strong character are thriving on the wine terraces just outside the town of Baden-Baden. Since 2015, the vineyard has been an eco-business; in 2018, it was granted organic certification. If, after a wine-tasting, you would prefer not to drive, the Maier vineyard can also offer you a place to stay. Needless to say, the accommodation likewise meets the relevant eco-standards. The in-house guest house is called “Wein-Bleibe” and has 8 rooms directly opposite the vineyard.
Heilbronn: Bad Friedrichshall visitor salt mine
At Südwestdeutschen Salzwerke AG in Heilbronn, economy and ecology go hand in hand. Production, which is as environmentally friendly and low-consumption as possible, and a sustainable energy policy take account of the needs of future generations. This principle applies to all areas of the business: salt extraction, production and distribution, but also what is on offer for tourists. The Bad Friedrichshall visitor salt mine takes adventurers big and small down in the conveyor cage into the underground world of “white gold” and, surrounded by places where salt used to be mined, you can find out more about history and mining, perform experiments or set off an explosion yourself.
Stuttgart: “Raupe Immersatt” Café
In June 2019 the first foodsharing café in Germany, “Raupe Immersatt”, opened its doors in the west end of Stuttgart. Here, food products which would otherwise have ended up in the rubbish bin, are gratefully received. Anyone can help themselves from the foodshare shelves. People contribute or take food free-of-charge; it’s up to you how much you pay for food and drink consumed on the premises. The café was made possible thanks to a crowdfunding campaign, and to this day, this sustainable project enjoys lots of supporters and committed fans. Besides the café business, there are regular cooking courses, schnippeldiskos (‘chopping discos’) and topical talks raise awareness of food wastage.
Freiburg: “Elephant Beans” coffee roastery
The “Green City” of Freiburg has been a pioneer location for the environmental protection movement. Back in 1970, Freiburg in Breisgau began a sustainability movement which continues to this day. Correspondingly, there is a wide range of fair-trade shopping and food and drink tasting opportunities on offer. This ranges from eco-fashion to organic restaurants. There is also something to cater for the palate of environmentally aware coffee-lovers: the “Elephant Beans” roastery experience promotes ‘slow food’. Direct trade and transparency are big here. Thus, the consumer can follow the journey coffee beans make from the coffee tree right to their coffee cup, and see who makes money along the way. You can either try the coffee at the small roastery café, simply order coffee “to go”, or order it in the webshop and enjoy it at home.
Ulm: “Fischerins Kleid” Fashion Store
Near the river Danube in the picturesque fishermen’s and tanner’s quarter of the city of Ulm, is “Fischerins Kleid” Fair Fashion Store, which includes its own tailor’s workshop. The owner and tailor for women, Annemarie Brückner, has clear principles: fairness towards people and the environment, repairing things instead of throwing them away, quality instead of quantity, and taking on responsibility. What’s on offer features fair-trade labels and own-design collections with fashionable cuts and special fabrics. These are complemented with scarves, jewellery, footwear and other accessories. They have made a conscious decision not to trade online. Instead, you can try things on in the calm and heartfelt atmosphere of the store. For example, you can combine this with attending one of the regular cultural events that take place here.