Frenkie's: Granola for a Cause
In review, 2016 was tumultuous. We bore loss of great people, witnessed continued wide spread war and saw dramatic political changes. But it wasn't all bad:
We saw incredible sporting achievements; Malawi achieved a 67% reduction of children acquiring HIV; more than 20 countries came together and pledged billions to ocean conservation; the tiger population rose for the first time in a century; Canada announced a ban on transgender discrimination; Germany welcomed over 300,000 refugees and China put a ban on all ivory trade.
The question is what can we do to continue these positive changes in 2017? I had the pleasure to speak with Frank Dekker, who has proven that small acts of kindness together lead to big changes
His initiative, Frenkie’s Granola, inspires Amsterdammers to contribute by purchasing his homemade granola. Each bag of granola purchased funds a toothbrush for a child in Nicaragua. It’s a simple idea- to give toothbrushes to the children who need it – with pure intentions. His mission to inspire a ‘give to give’ attitude will be helping children this month to happier, healthier mouths.
"I want to make a difference in the life of another - no matter how simple or small. Many small steps cover great distances, especially if we do it together.”
What’s the story behind your mission to give toothbrushes to children in Nicaragua?
It comes from the realization that ‘one man’ can make a difference. The way we do business these days is changing; values are different then before - at least that’s what I believe. This is my first step in doing something small in partnership with Frenkie’s.
I got to understand the situation in Nicaragua because my girlfriend, Carlijn, is a student at ACTA and training to be a dentist. She went to Nicaragua for three-months. So when I learned more of what she was going to do and what the circumstances there were, the idea of ‘Granola for a cause’ just popped up! I decided I’m just going to do it.
You created a bespoke granola recipe for the TrueStory Juice Bar (it’s incredible by the way!) and we’ve been selling the granola with our breakfast bowls. Where did the idea to sell granola to benefit children’s health come from?
I believe that if we all contribute a little, we can make a direct change for good to the ‘Give to Give Project’. A lot of small changes will be a big change all together. Why granola? I guess it’s a product that is familiar… and who doesn’t like granola? Haha. It’s also a wholesome product that I can make on my own and easy for people to bring home.
How has the journey been from that idea spark of making the granola to where you are now?
I’m still pretty stoked about the fact that I actually did it! I know that this is a small first step to more. It’s a great way of seeing possibilities. At the moment I’m in Costa Rica. We came in contact with a Dutch couple that are working on a turtle project. So this morning Carlijn and me ‘assisted’ to set free the new hatchlings from the hatchery out to the sea! It’s amazing what these people do, and of course they always need more support. So I guess I have found a new cause for the granola! Turtle granola!
I hear you're an incredible barista, chef and surfer amongst other things! How has your background influenced who you are now and your cause to help children in need?
Incredible barista is a too much, I guess I do know how to make a good cuppa though! It just happened that I became a chef, though I think it’s logical - I love food, or actually the sensation of flavor!
My love for surfing and coffee as well came to me cause of travelling. I have spent a little over 2 years in Australia, where I dedicated one year to learning how to surf! Recent days in Central America have shown me that I’ve still got much to learn – It’s fun and an amazing ride every time!
Whilst travelling, I became familiar with new brands, new stories and of course people that inspired me. For example, Patagonia, Toms, Andreas Gruneneberg, Dan Malloy, Xavier Rudd…there’s so many more!) I simply want to help because I can and feel that I should. And hopefully it will be a part of Frenkies as a business, so I can continue to make more changes for good in the future.
You’re in Nicaragua this month to personally give the toothbrushes to schools in need. How has the process been up till now in preparation?
We raised awareness and sold Frenkie’s Granola in Amsterdam up until November at Frenkie’s – located in The Koffie Academie, at TrueStory Juicery and other places. In January, Carlijn and me will be going back to the island Ometepe to visit the schools and people she has been working with, that’s when we’ll be delivering all the toothbrushes.
What do you envisage for Frenkie’s Granola in the future? Will you continue with this initiative toward helping children after January?
I want to develop Frenkie’s (catering) into a more active business for projects alike. My ambition is to open a shop of my own and work together and learn more about becoming a responsible, sustainable business.
The children on the Island of Ometepe (Nicaragua) now have the opportunity to learn the importance of healthy teeth and have a means to do it – with toothbrushes! Living conditions are low, but with continued efforts the children will benefit from a healthier mouth, which will lower their risk of diabetes, dementia and heart disease. And it’s all thanks to the work of Frenkie’s and also the dentistry department at the ACTA and the Boca Sana Project.
Frank has shown us that it’s all our small contributions that lead to big changes for good! We wish him all the best in Nicaragua this month.
You can still buy Frenkie's Granola at TrueStory Juice Bar all through January!