This summer we are thrilled to feature some local moms who are thinking outside the box and making a difference in our community through the businesses they own, organizations they are involved with, and work they do. Check out the rest of the series and read profiles from previous years here.
Jenny Quiner and her husband Eric, started Dogpatch Urban Gardens in 2015. It is a small-scale market garden that grows produce naturally with organic principles, and sustainable methods.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I was born and raised in Des Moines and attended Dowling Catholic High School. Then I ventured away from Des Moines for college. I earned my Undergraduate degree (Health Promotions) from the University of Iowa and my Masters of Education from Colorado State University. While finishing up my Masters I was offered a teaching job back home at Dowling Catholic High School. My husband and I loved living in Colorado, but always knew we wanted to come back to Des Moines to start/raise our family.
My husband, Eric Quiner is also a Des Moines native. We met at the U of Iowa where he was a rockstar in the band, Euforquestra. He now sells residential real estate in Des Moines for Remax Precision.
We have 3 beautiful boys; Oliver is 8, Walter is 6, and Lewis is 4. They are great kids and keep us busy!
What do you consider the biggest challenge and joy of motherhood to be?
My biggest challenge the constant struggle of making sure my boys are healthy and safe, while also allowing them to grow, learn, and explore life in a care free manner.
The biggest joy is eeing my boys grow, mature, and learn. It is so great to see them find what makes them happy which in turn makes me happy. Simple things like learning to ride a bike, nailing a drum lesson, or creating the perfect lego “thing” make my boys feel so proud and confident.
Honestly, the farm was not something I had always wanted to do. I grew up in Urbandale where my mom was a nurse and my dad was a businessman. I didn’t come from a farm background and the idea of the farm never really crossed my mind until I was teaching Environmental Science at Dowling. That said, I have always loved being outside, eating good food, and supporting local farmers.
I taught at Dowling for 6 years and in that time had my 3 boys. While I loved teaching, I felt my priorities had shifted after having my boys. I have always been into local foods and community and the really “organically” came about.
My understanding of both farming and running a business has grown tremendously over the past 5 years. It’s crazy to look back on how/where we began to where we are now. Starting off I didn’t even know what Quickbooks was and now I’m working with my bookkeeper weekly to understand numbers and help guide our business!
What’s the best part about your job?
- Connecting with customers and providing organically grown food options to people in Des Moines.
- Working outside
- The challenge of entrepreneurship
- Hosting on-farm events to bring people to the farm and enjoy the beauty we have created.
What’s the hardest part about your job?
Being a small business owner has its ups and downs, so it can be hard to pinpoint the hardest part. That said, the first thing that came to mind is, “work-life balance.” Raising 3 boys is a job all by itself, so as you can imagine I just never feel like there are enough hours in the day. My number one priority is my family, but owning a business does demand a lot of time and mental space.
What advice do you have for moms who want to chase a dream?
- Have a vision and a plan for what you want to do.
- Build your community of support & have mentors
- Take classes to educate yourself and keep learning
- You HAVE to be able to persevere
- Hire a bookkeeper
How are you involved in the community?
Our farm’s vision is to inspire health in humans, communities, and the land so being a part of our community is a pillar to our business.
We started this farm to unite our community. The neighborhood where the farm is located is known as the Dogpatch. That is why we named the farm Dogpatch Urban Gardens. We see the farm as a way to enhance our community and make it an even more desirable area.
We host events at the farm and bring people together around food. 100% of our food is sold within 10 miles of the farm so we are hyper-local which builds the Des Moines community as well.
We’re also members at Meredith Drive Reformed Church (across the street from the farm). This allows us to even better connect and unite with other people that live in our community.
I’m also involved with my boy’s lives in the Johnston Community School District. Last winter I coached two of their basketball teams and plan to keep coaching!
Around Des Moines
Favorite spot to go for a drink
The Cheese Bar
Best place to take kids in Des Moines
How/where do you relax?
Exercise is my way to relax. Whether it’s a bike ride or gym session that is my time that I really enjoy
What’s your favorite book, show, or podcast?
I tend to consume most media through podcasts. While working in the field I can listen and take in information. Some of my favorite podcasts are: Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, Farm Small Farm Smart with Diego Footer, and The Doctors Farmacy with Mark Hyman
What are 3 words to describe you?
Driven, Educator, Sarcastic
If your life had a hashtag, what would it be?
Know a Des Moines mom we should feature? Let us know! Email [email protected] with details and we will be in touch.