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Urban farmstand’s struggle shows regulations farmers may face when starting a business

publication date: Jun 1, 2018
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Dogpatch Urban Gardens (DUG) is an urban farm located in Des Moines, Iowa, owned by Jenny & Eric Quiner. The farm slogan is, “Cultivating Community,” and in the two seasons of business the community support towards the farm has been monumental. 95% of the produce is sold within 10 miles of the farm. The main avenue for sales is the on-site DUG FarmStand. The stand sells crops grown on site, and also resells items from other local growers & producers. Think of the stand as a locally sourced grocery store.

Dogpatch Urban Gardens is a unique business to the Des Moines area, as no one else has a for-profit urban farm with an on-site farm stand. Pioneering a new business model is exciting, though it has resulted in regulatory issues with the county. DUG is located in an unincorporated area in Des Moines, so the regulations are set by Polk County rather than the city of Des Moines. The farm’s unique business model has made it difficult for the county to classify it as residential, agricultural, or commercial. This has caused the county’s regulations to evolve inconsistently over time.

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