- Beatrice Senese
Our tour continues in Germany, where we are going to discover another cultural organization which promotes alternative, utopian lifestyle and nutrition – including a vegan restaurant based on the principle of community action and anti-consumerism values.
It is called Haus Mainusch (House Mainusch), located at the very end of the student campus in the university pole of Mainz, the biggest city and capital of the German region Rhineland-Palatinate; a small house covered with graffiti, open to anyone in a unique atmosphere of mutual respect, where we witness the flourishing of political and cultural activities and the coexistence of different (sub)cultures.
The association exists since 1988 and is supported by donations as well as fund raising initiatives – and of course by the motivation of its activists.
The community kitchen
First of all, Haus Mainusch is well known for offering a vegan, non-commercial, ethical alternative to the mainstream university-established student canteen.
As all activities organized in Haus Mainusch, also the kitchen conception is based on the principles of anti-consumer is mand recycling: the entirely vegan meal offered on a daily basis to students (but not only!), is the result of volunteer work, planning and collective cooking – a process which often leads to creative solutions such as dumpster diving. Anyone can join the cooking team, depending on one's availability: participation is the key to the success of this and other projects which develop apart from any profit logic.
If you come by, enjoy a great meal and wish at once to lend a hand, the cooking team will be more than happy to welcome you in the kitchen to help wash the dishes – all in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere that characterizes the volunteers work.
To be fair, Haus Mainusch is much more than just a restaurant: several cultural events, meetings, political groups actions as well as concerts take place in this unique space. The aim of the house is to offer its visitors a "constructive environment", "free of normative bonds and of the pressure that we endure everyday in the capitalist society", as the website reads, so that everyone can participate with their own abilities and interests, without discrimination or oppression.
Few minor initiatives take place everyday: one example is the exchange corner, where anyone can get rid of old or unwanted clothes and objects; in the same way, those who are in need can come here and receive clothes for free.
By turning these utopian ideals into reality, the activists strivefor awareness within, but also outside the house: Haus Mainusch is a model of acceptance and solidarity for the whole student campus, and hopefully for the whole city of Mainz. For more information, http://haus-mainusch.de/