MTN OPS co-founder Trevor Farnes is a highly successful entrepreneur in the food supplement space and is regularly praised and nominated for awards thanks to his successes in the business world. But it’s important to note that those successes came as a result of a number of failed ventures, at one-point leading Farnes to wonder how he would even put food on the table for his own family.
Now, with money in the bank and an exciting brand going from strength to strength, Farnes is paying it forward in a big way. M&F sat down with the changemaker, to find out why conquering hunger is so important to him personally, and how he’s making a significant difference not just in his local community, but around the world.
“I wish that I’d had the sense to build slowly, and to create a foundation to then scale upon,” reflects Farnes when discussing the financial difficulties that he faced as a result of a failed pharmaceuticals-based operation, and later an ill-fated retail project. “But I went for it, and I wanted to experience big success quickly. I was short-sighted on the importance of working capital, cashflow, bandwidth, etc. Simple things that if I had been mentored on a bit more, I would have saved myself a lot of money and heartache.”
Desperate, and motivated to succeed, Farnes finally found success when he developed a nitric oxide product with his sick father in mind, to help his neuropathy and blood flow issues. That project went so well that Farnes was able to raise the capital along with his brothers to mass-manufacture the product and, from there, sales went through the roof. Then, in 2014, the entrepreneur teamed up with a group of likeminded marketers to serve health supplements to the hunter-athlete movement, and MTN OPS was born.
“It was created to fuel the passion for the outdoors and those training inside to conquer outside,” he says. “The ‘MTN’ or Mountains represents all of the mountains that we climb and ultimately conquer in life, and ‘OPS’ represents the outdoor performance supplements we supply to those facing, climbing, and conquering those mountains of life!”
Inspiration Created Through Overcoming Personal Obstacles
MTN OPS inspires people by reducing hunger Stats from feedingamerica.org suggest that 34 million people in the United States alone are considered to be food insecure. It’s a problem found in every state in North America, and replicated across the world. And it’s an issue that is close to heart for Farnes, as he understands what it is like to worry about where the next meal might be coming from. “During our trying times, our grocery bill was always on our minds,” he shares. “Our children had to eat, and this became
what plagued my mind as a young father. We started diving into the food storage that we had built up in case of a natural disaster, but it was now being used for our own personal disaster. Cracking our own wheat to make things last longer was a great skill to learn, but hard on the bellies.” While the now successful businessman is able to put food on the table today, he’s all too aware of the cost-of-living crisis that is gripping the world. “Over time, we have watched as foods such as eggs, bacon, pork, milk, fruit, and other basics have increased to very expensive rates and it has become incredibly difficult for families to branch out beyond the basic necessities,” he observes.
It is with all this in mind that Farnes and MTN OPS have been giving something back to those who require help. “For every order that we receive at MTN OPS, we donate a meal to a needy child,” he says. “It is a beautiful system where those buying our products receive the health benefits of the product, but their order and hard-earned money is also then put to work. People, in turn, then receive nutrition through the meals that we donate. It is a win-win system inspired and built to benefit all involved.”
At regular events, including the annual Western Hunt Expo, MTN OPS runs its ‘Operation Conquer Hunger’ program, where an incredible 60,000 meals are packed and given to children and families in need.
“They receive food such as ravioli, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, fruit packs, crackers, granola bars, and fruit juice and they can eat this food when they don’t have access to the school’s breakfast and lunch or while at home for the weekend,” says Farnes. “Also, in each of these packs is a note from MTN OPS that tells each of these children that they are made to conquer. Yes, we are filling a belly, but truly we are removing the distraction of hunger and inspiring some hope and confidence in these children and, hopefully, an ability for them to focus in school and with relationships in their pursuit to conquer more in life.”
MTN OPS encourages success through education around nutrition
“Our diet is the cause of so much heartache, headache, and gut ache,” says Farnes. “We are distracted by competition, in a race to achieve, but we are slow to consider our greatest asset; our human body and its ability to bring about our greatest contribution and opportunities in life. If we could just slow down for a moment, we would recognize that we become nothing without our health.” Farnes doesn’t just sell or give away MTN OPS products as he’s a big consumer too, noting that he enjoys the boost of energy that he gets from their number 1 selling product, Ignite, and when on bike rides, hiking, or skiing, he uses MTN OPS hydration and electrolyte products.
Farnes tells M&F that “Operation Conquer Hunger” donates a small portion of proceed to children and families in Malawi, Africa, while also distributing funds to the U.S. hunger relief organization: Feeding America. Reflecting on his early difficulties, Farnes feels that another way to reduce hunger is to educate the young on issues around finance. “I could have significantly benefited from general financial literacy and management classes in high school,” he says. “There are many ambitious individuals who want to hit the ground running after graduating and, while I love the education I gained hitting the street, it would have been great to have a little more understanding under my belt, like learning how to manage money before it manages you, and learning to live within a budget and not spend more than you bring in, creating an attitude of self-discipline with money. One of the most important lessons you can instil in someone is understanding needs versus wants and the practice of patience and an ability to sacrifice now for what you want in the future. We live in such a competitive world where people seek immediate gratification, but if we can learn to delay gratification and let time do the hard work, so many positive results can be achieved.”
While the education system might be slow to teach kids about loans and mortgages, Farnes and MTN OPS continues to reach people through their events and free consultations. “Our future is incredibly bright regarding Operation Conquer Hunger,” he says. “And, while it is a small part of what we do at MTN OPS, it is the biggest symbol of who we are. In June of 2023, we will hit 5 million free meals. I feel that by the end of this year, we will hit the 6 million mark. And, by the end of 2025, we will achieve the goal of 10 million meals.