DIG-ing for a Decade!

Since its founding 10 years ago, Development in Gardening (DIG) has specialized in promoting gardening and diet diversity services among health facilities, schools and local households in African communities.

Working in the area of sustainable agriculture, DIG a 501(c)3 international non-profit has achieved results in nearly a dozen countries. Its mission has remained true and unwavering: enabling vulnerable and HIV-affected communities to meet their own needs and improve their well-being through nutrition-sensitive and sustainable agriculture.

DIG has a high degree of sustained impact at projects because the model stresses sustainability, skills transfer, ownership, and replicability as illustrated below:

  • DIG’s first site at Fann Hospital in Dakar, Senegal continues to operate feeding HIV in-patients. Productions levels have moved from 450 pounds of harvested produce monthly in 2006 to over 1 ton in 2014 enriching the meals of 1,750 HIV patients every month.
  • In Budondo, Uganda, a group of 6 HIV-positive people, started with DIG home gardens to replace World Food Program support that ended in 2007. Today, with over 150 members, they have dug more than 600 home gardens, 30 new groups trained, and support 100 OVCs. Through the sale of excess produce the group has purchased land, equipment, a tree nursery, fruit dehydration and are starting a DIG Uganda Sustainable Agriculture Training Center.
  • A DIG–assisted school garden, initiated in 2009 with 39 students at the WISER Girls School in Kenya now provides more than 20,000 nutritionally improved school meals annually. Over 130 students practice the skills necessary to develop and maintain gardens at the school site and their homes.
  • A simple DIG demonstration garden at Lwala Hospital (Kenya) started with 42 people from an HIV support group and a women’s group. In 3 years, Lwala has over 300 people trained, 500 home gardens, 26 community spin-off demonstration gardens, and 5 primary schools replicating the model.

Including the four sites above, DIG has developed demonstration gardens sites with 15 HIV clinics/hospitals4 orphanages11 schools,  and 35 community groups.  Over 24,000 people have directly benefited from either an increased household income, greater diversity of nutritious produce consumption, or improved garden productivity at the household level. Nearly 3,000 individual home gardens have been supported by DIG with countless others developed by community members who were inspired by their neighbors.  DIG created a resource tool kit that increased training adoption rates of farmers to 91% and increased staff’s capacity; externally, it created a mechanism to share best practices with over 30 organizations and counting. 

DIG has seen a true return in investment from our programs.  In Kenya, DIG found that on average yearly each home garden started with less than $100 invested had earned or saved on food expenditures $300 per family. Additionally, DIG has helped secure 50 loans for poor rural farmers with a 97% repayment rate.  DIG will continue to invest in smallholder farmer’s food security and nutrition because it is fundamental to achieving global development goals in health, economics and education.
DIG looks forward to the next 10 years creating a more abundant world.