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Development in Gardening

Mission

DIG’s mission is to improve the nutrition and livelihoods of some of the world’s most uniquely vulnerable people by teaching them to plant restorative gardens that grow health, wealth, and a sense of belonging.

Challenge

Facilitators need a way to quickly recommend crops that reflect the families’ priorities and needs.  Currently, no such system for making recommendations exists.

Research Activities

We first collected data on the 20 vegetables DIG offers, highlighting their nutritional benefits, cultural value, and social stigmas. Then we recorded the stories of 16 individual farmers to account for identifiers such as financial and nutritional needs, family size, and land ownership. We supported these individual stories with overarching community narratives collected in collaboration with local experts. Upon evaluation of this data, we created a tool that identifies crop recommendations based on the most pressing needs and limitations of each individual farmer.

Key Findings

  1. Field friendly program materials communicate most effectively. Local facilitators respond best to tools that are visually comprehensive, quick to use, and independent of technology.
  2. Not all crops are suitable for every farmer. Each crop requires specific startup costs, land use, and farming expertise. Though DIG demonstrates 20 crops, farmers will benefit most if their options are tailored to their unique needs and limitations.
  3. Farmers will create their own home gardens. Farmers often choose crops based on their likes, dislikes, and community influence. An effective tool will respect this fact and work to provide farmers with informed options and promote agency.

Deliverables

  1. The nutritional tool is a visually comprehensive, field friendly guide to crop recommendations. The tool effectively categorizes farmers based on their needs and limitations and identifies multiple sets of crop recommendations, each with unique benefits.
  2. The user manual will explain the different categories of the tool, so that facilitators have a reference when making recommendations to farmers. The manual will also include a section that explains the process we used to create the tool, so that it can be replicated for other
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Team

2021

Social Enterprise:
Development in Gardening

Fellows:

Camryn Fischer
Marketing
LinkedIn

Maggie Menendez
Individual Studies
LinkedIn