D.I.G. (Development in Gardening) is a charitable organization dedicated to improving health and well-being for HIV-positive and at-risk individuals in developing nations. They teach skills and develop infrastructure for sustainable community gardens, thereby improving nutrition, wellness, and earning potential.
The garden projects (currently there are several DIG gardens in Uganda, Senegal, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, and Namibia) are built and maintained by healthy HIV-affected workers, sometimes on hospital grounds. In addition to helping provide important, vitamin-rich fresh foods, the gardens also provide some income for the community as well as a welcoming gathering space. An offshoot of the program is H.U.G. (Home Urban Garden) where individuals take the skills they have learned in hospital community gardens, and establish their own micro-gardens in previously unused spaces at or near their homes. This supplements the nutrition of entire families as well as a harvest of enough to sell fresh fruits and vegetables and help stabilize income. In addition, they develop nutrition education programs and agricultural curricula in schools where they work so, in addition to access to a sustainable food system, they increase awareness of its importance and vitality.
Malnutrition in HIV/AIDS patients is a very real threat and almost constant condition in many economically challenged communities. This program not only nourishes individuals, but families and communities, and the skills shared by volunteers and staff can be passed on for generations to follow, potentially raising the level of health and nutrition for entire regions.
Want to get involved? Short term volunteers spend vacations at DIG projects, and longer-term volunteers work as interns taking stewardship of a program. Find out how to pitch in here.