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Kamieleke protects Waas agricultural

5 April 2021
By Rani Cromphout
BEVEREN – Frank De Ryck (61) has been passionate about food and
agriculture his entire life. He has set up ‘Kamieleke’ to promote regional
products from Beveren and, by extension, from Waasland. His online store
provides local producers with a platform so that they can distribute their
artisan products. But that’s not all: “I go in search of what we ate 100 years
ago, what still appears as part of our everyday meals today, and an idea of
what we will eat in the future. Together with farmers from Waasland, I want to
establish projects to make the future of agriculture more sustainable.”
Born into an agricultural family, Frank De Ryck has been interested in
everything to do with food and agriculture since he was a small child. In 1981,
Frank started the Beverse Farmers’ Market as part of his social work studies. It
was a place that enabled direct sales between farmers and consumers and it is
something that still takes place every Saturday.

Online store selling products from Waasland
Frank always continued to follow the sector with great interest and founded a
new initiative no less than 35 years later, in 2015. “With Kamieleke, I want to
once more shine the spotlight on regional products from Beveren. On the
www.kamieleke.be website, people can find an overview of the regional
products that already exist. This includes products like honey, which have
always been around, as well as modern and new items such as vegan cookies.
The aim of Kamieleke is to promote existing regional products in such a way as
to draw attention to the expansion of local, artisan offerings that are based in
the region and beyond.”
To date, you will find about 85 products in the online store, but Kamieleke’s
offer continues to grow every week. The products are sold separately or
offered as part of a gift set. “It’s often about products that have been around
for years, but which have undergone a surprising new twist. Take vinegar, for
example. It’s something that has always been around. Today, though, people in
Zwijndrecht are actively producing cider vinegar, using the ever-popular ‘De
Blauwe Hand’ vinegar as a base. These are the type of compelling stories that I
look for.”

Kamieleke also wants to offer a platform to people who like to bake, make jam,
advocaat, chocolate, and more. They will be a voice for small producers with
passion and talent. “We are working together to build up responsible sales and
expand the range of local food available in the Waasland area.”

What did we eat in the past? What do we eat now? And what will we eat in the
Drawing on the heritage and history of Waasland, Kamieleke wants to rewrite
the story of our food. He asks such questions as what and how did we eat in
days gone by? How much of that food is still served today, and what will we eat
in the future?

“I’m going to hunt through the archives of the municipality of Lokeren, and
other places, for books about farming and agriculture methods in the 16th
century, for example, and then compare them with how we farm today. What
food would we have found on our dinner plates hundreds of years ago and is
any of it still served today? I am actually convinced that in the future, we will
return to truly local production and consumption.”
Finally, Frank and Kamieleke want to promote and take part in projects that
look at plant-based nutrition, or production and cultivation projects that focus
on health aspects and soil protection. “I have quite a few contacts within the
agriculture sector and through lectures and being actively involved in such
activities as the purchase of land, I hope to be able to guide farmers in the
transition from cattle breeding to plant-based cultivation. Because that’s
ultimately where I think the future lies.”

Shop premises
Frank doesn’t want to stop at just having an online store. “At the beginning of
last year, I started looking for shop premises in Beveren, but that is not
feasible for the time being. The rents are far too high and the current profits
from our products means I cannot yet afford a shop on the high street. Yet
that’s where we want to have a presence one day so that Kamieleke will be
visible to everyone.
Producers from Waasland and beyond who are interested in offering their
products through Kamieleke can always get in touch with us
kamieleke.2015@gmail.com or www.kamieleke.be