Organic fruits and vegetables in most countries are a relatively new trend, stocked in grocery stores by popular demand. In North Caicos, there is a simpler term for the same natural, home-grown produce: a garden.
Sugar cane, corn, watermelons and tomatoes almost seem like they are part of the natural vegetation, growing in nearly every family’s garden.
Growing your own vegetables was simply a part of life on North Caicos, the greenest island in the Turks & Caicos chain.
For decades, fish was the hottest commodity coming out of the Turks & Caicos Islands after salt and Sea Island cotton. Exotic items such as bananas, papayas and mangos came from faraway places such as Haiti or the Dominican Republic on trade ships after days at sea.
Those days of trade are long gone, as goods in the modern world arrive by airplane and commercial ships. Today, the most populated island of Providenciales is serviced by large grocery stores filled with aisles and aisles of products from around the world, including everything from Idaho potatoes and California grapes to kiwi from New Zealand.
On North Caicos, 25 minutes away from Provo by ferry, the grocery shops are more humble and they still enjoy the natural goodness of their locally grown products.
Several community farmers are determined to support the local economy by growing a fruitful farming industry, which is starting to take root.
Emmanuel Missick’s Green Acres Farm recently expanded to include pigs, enough to feed everyone on North Caicos, he has said.
Courtney Missick, a Kew farmer and president of the Farmer’s and Community Association on North Caicos, has been working with the government to bring education about farming to residents who are interested in getting involved.
The government also is cultivating a new idea in Kew. Plans are being developed to turn a small, government-sponsored farm into a research center, creating resources to help farmers, including finding the best types of produce to grow and providing low-cost seedlings to be put into production.
Turning a home-grown hobby into a flourishing industry is not a small task, but North Caicos farmers are determined to see this idea bloom into reality.