As a local “backyard farmer,” Dervent sees his farm as more than just a hobby. He dedicates his time and heart to rearing crops and started his own farm, Caicos Acres Farms, to show the nourishment of TCI’s land.
How would you describe your job? What are your main responsibilities?
Quant: Currently, my responsibilities encompass every aspect: seed starting, maintenance, grow medium production, PR, daily care, etc. Each organism (plant) requires specific care in relation to its current stage of development and environment. If the morning is hot because the sun is higher in the sky thanks to it being late August, void of clouds, and any hope of rain is forgotten, you can be sure my nursery will receive at least two morning showers–if possible.
What do you like most about your work? Is there something that surprised you about the role/field when you started?
Quant: No matter if I’m working up a sweat mixing our Organic Grow Mix (OGM) or chopping trees or just planting new seeds, I enjoy the humbling yet satisfying feeling of reconnecting with nature. Essentially, I’m truly going back to our roots and doing so as organically as I can. Watching new seeds sprouting can be quite inspiring; you may see one or two for a few days and feel discouraged but see 90% of the 1,000 seeds sprout the following day. I also enjoy the fact that every day provides a new experiment and another lesson to be learned.
What were some of your early roles?
Quant: I did some summer and fall work with a live-aboard vessel called The Aggressor last year, an amazing experience with more than amazing people. I met a few mentors who I was able to bounce some ideas off of. Last November, thanks to The Aggressor, I had amassed an abundance of fresh seeds and refused fruit (avocados, starfruit, cantaloupe, honeydew, peppers, tomatoes, mangoes, nectarine… Almost any fruit you could think of!
But I was first interested when I spent 6 months living on an orchard in Canada. The yard was quite large with a 40-foot tall cherry tree; several pear, apple, plum, walnut, and blackberry trees; and a garden off to the side with vegetables ready to harvest daily at leisure. Though I didn’t start gardening until I returned home to Provo, I did plant my first sweet and hot peppers and tomatoes in a tent that I brought back from Canada. That was 4 years ago and here I am today.
What skills and attributes are essential to be successful in this field?
Quant: Pure determination of the slow progress and enjoyment of the laborious process! The saying “the early bird catches the worm” is as accurate as they come. Being prepared to be up before everyone else is key to your determination. Consistency is also important; if I’m not planting new seeds every day, then I’m failing the operation, myself, and my purpose. Patience is crucial as well as effective timing.
Aside from determination, there are really no skills required. Everything is an experiment and a chance to learn something new.
What other related fields do you think someone should consider looking into?
Quant: That would depend. For me, I plan to incorporate aviation into the operation as soon as would be feasible to do so. But someone can grow a neem tree and lavender plant to make essential oils and soaps, which are all organic. Or if you have a mango and tamarind farm, maybe explore canning preserves and jams, or maybe juicing. There is great potential to go into waste management from collaborating with supermarkets and hotels to process their organic refuse to grow crops. The related and unrelated field options are limitless.
What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out in this field?
Quant: The different techniques, the substantial investment of time that’s required to maintain just 10 plants. These are things I now know from the years of trial and error. There is a long list of things I wish I knew at the start, but where would the fun and challenge be if I had everything set before me?
What advice would you give someone who is considering this type of job or field?
Quant: Just keep growing. This path as a career is challenging given the amount of times you can feel discouraged from feeling that your work is in vain. But whatever you find that you’re doing correctly, keep doing it and amend the process that may not be working out as well as you had originally hoped. It will teach you so much more than if it just worked from the start. More enjoyment and success will come through genuine understanding and you will gain that over time.
Enjoy the experience!
What’s next for you and how do you plan to change the TCI in your field?
Quant: My next step is to just continue growing. I want to scale everything as efficiently as I can while building a brand that revolves around sensible, organic, regenerative agriculture. The change I’m trying to effect within TCI is a massive one that must be taken in smaller steps. I simply want to show everyone how much we can actually grow here and what TCI is truly capable of agriculturally.