Background on DUG
Dogpatch Urban Gardens (DUG) is an urban farm located in Des Moines, Iowa. Dogpatch Urban Garden's property is on one acre of land. On that acre, we have one high tunnel, two grow plots, the DUG FarmStand, an "Urban FarmStay" (Air BnB), and green space for events.
DUG grows annual vegetable crops using biointensive growing practices. We just finished our second growing season, and in 2017 we produced over 7,500 pounds of organically grown food for citizens of Des Moines!
Our farm slogan is, "Cultivating Community," and in our two years of business we have loved the support from our community. 95% of our produce is sold within 10 miles of our farm, and that is a number we are proud of! Selling our produce locally allows customers the freshest and highest quality produce possible. It also lessens our ecological footprint. Our farm tries to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We are constantly working to enhance our soil through the use of compost, cover crops, worm castings, and minimal tillage/disturbance. We do not use tools that rely on fossil fuels, nor do we use synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Because most of our items are sold close to our farm we do not depend on large amounts of gasoline for deliveries.
We are a unique business to the Des Moines area because we have an onsite FarmStand. The DUG FarmStand sells our produce (grown on site), but we also source other items from local growers/producers. We sell milk, cheese, eggs, meats, salad dressing, spices, oils, vinegars, jerky, honey, tea, maple syrup, jams, mustard, granola, sauerkraut, BBQ sauce, pasta, salsa, bread, baking mixes, soups, fruits, and vegetables all local to Iowa. Our FarmStand allows Dogpatch Urban Gardens to be a sustainable business while also supporting other local growers/producers.
Help DUG Grow
We are launching this Kickstarter Campaign due to substantial infrastructural changes/improvements imposed upon us from our local county. To make a long story short, we are being forced to add an ADA compliant restroom (which initially we were told we did not need), ADA compliant parking, fencing, landscaping, and more.
We are a unique business to Des Moines and that has made it difficult for the county to classify us as residential, agricultural, or commercial. Therefore, what they are requiring of us has evolved inconsistently. Since the inception of DUG, we have made a point to be open and communicative with our intentions and goals, and have asked the county specific questions about requirements for our business. In our two years of business, the county has made substantial changes in its requirements/policy for us. We are currently sitting at approximately $75,000 in imposed improvements due by the end of 2018.
We recognize that the imposed infrastructural changes/improvements to our farm will allow us to continue to build on our mission of cultivating community by providing a supportive environment for all our customers. We'd love to have a public restroom and ADA accessibility, at some point in the future, as we continue to grow. The struggle we are facing is two-fold:
1.) These additions are being required of us in a timeframe that is prohibitive to our small business as they need to be completed this (2018) season.
2.) Despite frequent communication with the county about our plans and reviews on their part, we were not told of these requirements until after we had built our infrastructure.
If our county would have told us these things were required from the start, when we specifically asked them we would have planned our business accordingly. Now we are being required to add onto current structures, as well as alter things we already built.
The photo below shows examples of some changes we will be making:
Estimated Project Expenses
1. Restroom (including new septic system) - $35,000
2. Landscaping and Fencing - $5,000
3. Additional paved spaces for ADA compliant parking (this includes demo of concrete that was poured only two years ago) - $10,000
4. Additional ADA compliance - Had we been told this to begin with, complying would have been very simple. Now we are required to remodel our current FarmStand building. - $3,000
5. Water run-off storage - Those of you that have followed our progress over the past few years probably know that during the 2016 season we dealt with flooding issues. In the fall of 2016, we added a lift station and significant drainage tiling to mitigate water runoff. Since that addition we have had no issues with flooding. Once again, had we known these requirements before we could have accommodated their requests at the time we did the work in 2016. - $4,000
6. Reconstruction after demo - Our current septic tank is not large enough to accommodate a new bathroom. We need to replace our current tank to accommodate the new load of the added bath. To do this we will be tearing up the driveway at our Air BnB. - $5,000
7. Site Plan created by an engineering firm - $10,000
We do not believe that the intentions of the county were ever to shut our business down. Sadly, we feel as if they did not listen to us and what we intended to do with the farm/property. We asked many questions throughout our building phases to avoid precisely what we are dealing with now. Knowing we are new business owners, we felt asking questions was the thing to do. We figured going directly to the source for answers/advice was the proper way to start up our business (without causing major issues after the fact.) Unfortunately, we relied on Polk county to our own detriment. We never intended to break any rules/codes, but now we are forced to make changes to our land based on false information they gave us.
Our goal is to begin construction as soon as the ground thaws. At that point we will build the new restroom addition, add the new septic tank, regrade and pour concrete, and more. We plan to have the large infrastructural projects complete by the time the FarmStand opens in mid May. The landscape and fencing will be ongoing throughout the 2018 season, and should be complete in the fall of 2018.
DUG in the News!~ The Des Moines Register - Urban Farmer Changing the Des Moines Foodscape~ The Female Farmer Project (PODCAST) - Urban Farming in Iowa with Jenny Quiner~ Diego Footers: Creative Destruction (PODCAST) - Starting and Growing an On-Site FarmStand and Farm
~ The Des Moines Register - Millennials Put Down Roots on Urban Farms
~ Woman Food & Ag Network - Farmer Profile~ The Des Moines Register - Growing Food Not Lawns
~ Des Moines Parent - Gardening with Kids~ Farmers Market Coalition - Meet Jenny Quiner~ We Are Iowa - Dogpatch Urban Gardens in the Kitchen~ Seed Stock - Amidst a Sea of Monocrop Farms, Urban Garden in Iowa Cultivates Community and Diversity of Produce~ Made in DSM - Interview with Jenny Quiner
Starting Dogpatch Urban Gardens and seeing it grow has been a dream come true. Our recent struggles with our county have been deflating, but we see this as an opportunity for our community to rally in support! I know these improvements will strengthen our farm and make it a more desirable destination for the Des Moines community as well as improving our local food scene. Thank you so much for checking out our project. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing platform. If we don't reach our funding goal by the deadline, we receive no funds. Zero. If you want to participate, please do so now. All rewards are validated only when we reach our funding goal. If you are interested in crafting a custom reward, email email@example.com
Risks and challenges
Like with any construction project, there can be risk/challenges associated with the build.
We are a product of Iowa's weather, so hopefully it will cooperate with us during the construction phase. If the ground is too wet/frozen it will alter the timeline of the project. That said, we could see delays yet it will still get done!
Anytime you deal with large construction projects there may be unforeseen issues. We recognize these things may pop up and will work through them!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)