Food insecurity worsens when coupled with extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS. Development in Gardening (DIG) has implemented an agriculture model that works to break down this cycle of poverty by empowering participants to improve their own health and nutrition, earning potential, and technical knowledge and life skills.
Many of DIG’s facility and home gardens produce crops in excess of what can be consumed onsite. This excess can be sold to restaurants and markets for additional income. The monies gained from these sales are used to improve the financial security of the individual and/or facility garden itself.
DIG’s participants have discovered many innovative ways to generate income. Some groups grow specific produce to sell in niche markets such as lettuce, basil, or tomatillos, which are in high demand in select restaurants. Other groups might sell a garden inspired product such as banana bread, hot pepper relish, dried fruit, or fruit tree seedlings. Several garden cooperatives have also worked on increasing the market supply for the growing demand of organic produce.
In addition to harvest related initiatives, DIG has supported income-generating activities that are organized through garden cooperatives. One example of this is Development in Gardening’s Budondo Group in Uganda who took the profits from their garden to purchase sewing machines. Today, they use these machines to make school uniforms, fabric cards, and fabric bags. Through the sale of these items, the group has expanded their garden efforts and is more effectively meeting the food security and nutritional needs of their group members.