Development in Gardening (DIG)’s success and central purpose is proper nutrition to HIV/AIDS patients, other patients with compromised immune systems, their families, and supporting the clinics they visit. DIG’s projects enable vulnerable communities to meet their own nutrition needs and improve their well-being through sustainable agriculture. They stress the link between nutrition, gardening and health. Many of their programs are nutrition focused, supporting a variety of programs at treatment centers, schools and orphanages.
DIG teaches techniques for planting small garden plots near their clients’ homes. They teach positive nutritional behaviours, starting with the concept that malnutrition complicates all chronic illnesses. In addition, they have a mobile agriculture training program conducting community education. All of their strategies are influenced and guided by principles of women’s engagement and gender equity as a way to increase production of small gardens.
“Mary works as a tailor…. She is also one of DIG's best farmers, always attentive and hardworking in each training session. At her home, Mary carried on that same work ethic and built over 38 beds and grows kales, black nightshades, onions, and spider plant. She eats out of the garden three times a day and sells excess produce as well.”
Mary’s success shows how DIG’s garden training can impact an entire package of success including women’s empowerment, nutritional gains, additional income, and creating positive agriculture resources through small plot gardening.
Facility gardening as opposed to agricultural production assistance differentiates DIG from other sustainable agricultural organizations. DIG’s projects are geared towards the needs of the hospitals, clinics, orphanages and schools that create them, and the individuals that benefit from them. The gardens work to create needed community connections, additional support for sick and at-risk populations and reclaim neglected areas to productive land.
Video: "This is Dig. Reap Life"
Becker, Emily, "With a Few Seeds, And a Little Water, HIV-Positive Women are Transforming Their Lives" A-Plus, August 02, 2017, last viewed 9.7.17, AJ Chalom