Frank Holleman is a young leader and business founder from the Netherlands. He describes himself as a storyteller and dreamer, who wrote the book ‘Fork Ranger’ to make it easier for anyone to be part of the climate solution.

While Frank is an active member of both his local church and NYI, his focus in ministry for these past years has been in sharing the truth of the Climate Crisis and the hope found in caring for creation and food sustainability with the world. He recently interviewed Regional Director Jim Ritchie about Mission on the region, and together they discussed the common purpose found within the mission of God, and environmental sustainability & ethical living.

This month we asked Frank to share with us more about this, and the calling of God on his life.

How did you get connected with the Church of the Nazarene/NYI?:

The Church of the Nazarene has played an important role in my family. My grandpa started the first Dutch church, and both my parents are pastors! So, it’s been an important part right from the beginning of my life.

Tell us about Fork Ranger! How did your journey into sustainability in food begin, and what made you consider a book/app?:

I was always interested in climate change, but I felt like I only knew about all the problems and not about the solutions. So, I started doing some research and in ‘Drawdown’ – a book about the 100 most effective ways to reduce emissions – I saw that 11 of the top 25 solutions are about food, especially eating less meat. From that moment I found vegetarian recipes really frustrating so I just started collecting my own. Then, together with all my research about how to make sustainable decisions in the supermarket, I put them in a book.

Then I wanted to turn Fork Ranger more into a digital start-up to reach more people and make it more fun. With an app I want to turn the journey of eating sustainably into an ‘adventure game’.

Share with us a little about the connection between ‘Environment/sustainability’ and the call of God in our lives (from your perspective and experience):

Since both of my parents are pastors, people always asked whether I would also take that route, but I never felt like that was my calling. When I started working on the book I then realised what I wanted to be: a pastor for sustainability! Learning more about the role of food in the climate crisis has given me new hope and I feel like it is ‘good news’ that the world needs to know about. It really feels like a calling.

Caring for the poor has also received new meaning. The industrialised western countries produce most of the world’s emissions, but less developed/financially poorer countries are suffering the most from the consequences. Climate change and inequality are linked – we cannot we turn a blind eye to this injustice.

At the same time, I have also discovered that the church has a huge role to play in the solution. From the way I see it, the underlying cause of all environmental problems is overconsumption and unfortunately, our rich consumer lives are only possible because of the exploitation of ecosystems and poor people. We need to replace consumerism with an alternative narrative of how to live ‘The Good Life’. It is about focusing on all the things that money can’t buy and living in harmony with nature. The ultimate alternative to consumerism is the Gospel.

People are longing for hope and purpose in amongst the climate crisis. I think this is a great opportunity for the church to provide some of that to young people. We must connect the dots and show people that a ‘consumer-driven’ lifestyle is not in line with a ‘holy’ lifestyle. Living in harmony with nature means living in harmony with creation and The Creator. If the Kingdom of God is to come ‘on Earth as it is in heaven’ then we cannot separate ourselves from nature. How beautiful is it that we can make a difference with our food? I always say that we need more sustainable dinner parties – and Jesus attended plenty of ‘dinner parties’.

What are your hopes for the future?:

I hope that people will see how a consumer lifestyle is not only causing environmental damage, but also how it makes us unhappy. I hope that Fork Ranger can play a part in using food as a steppingstone for inventing a new lifestyle.

My life has become so much more meaningful and delicious by exploring the flavours of plants and making meat a luxury product for special occasions.

I hope that more and more people will discover the joy and purpose of nature. It is unbelievable how much purpose, wonder, and wisdom we can find in forests, rivers, and mountains.

Can you share with us a scripture that has been meaningful to you?:

I really like 1 Corinthians 15:58:

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”

I see in this verse the hope that God will restore the world and that, although saving the world is not dependent on my shoulders, I can definitely play a part in it. And, most importantly, every little thing I contribute helps and is not wasted. That is an amazing encouragement!

You can find out more about Fork Ranger and begin the journey into food sustainability by visiting their website:

Forkranger.com