Meet Jenny Quiner of Dogpatch Urban Gardens

Photo taken by Bob Blanchard

Farm“her” Jenny Quiner, a Des Moines native, has been busy digging at D.U.G.– that is Dogpatch Urban Gardens. Busily in her second season, she has embraced small-scale farming and completely utilizes the farm’s 1/4th acre.

“Small-scale farming has its advantages because it allows for me to ‘know my crops’,” explains Jenny. “Since the land is small I am constantly interacting with every square foot of the crops and I can recognize any potential issues involving the soil, pests, weeds, etc. Growing on a smaller scale also allows me to focus on creating high quality and fresh produce. I am able to harvest within just days of distribution!”

Dogpatch Urban Gardens is a mix of conscientious and purposeful farming centered around health, community, education, and environment. Before she took up in the field, Jenny was a Science teacher at Dowling Catholic High School for 6 years. During her teaching career, Jenny and her husband Eric welcomed three sons. She would later feel a pull towards a new life direction and the Quiners serendipitously purchased the farm and dug right in. Jenny describes herself as a student of farming and is currently a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa and is participating in the Beginning Farmers Savings Incentive Program.

It is her second season as vendor and market gardener at the Beaverdale Farmers Market. She specializes in growing greens (lettuces, asian greens, baby kale, spinach, etc.) and also grows root veggies, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, and microgreens.

“Farmers markets are an essential component to my farming success. As a beginning market gardener, not only do farmers markets help me financially, but they also increase my social equity. I’m able to better connect and interact with individuals within my community.”

For Jenny, like so many other farmers, markets cultivate relations with the community. “Farming can be a seclusive job, so I love being able to get out of the field and connect with people who support local foods.”

Dogpatch Urban Gardens also has an on-site FarmStand, essentially their own farmers market/locally sourced grocery store. They sell their own products while also buying from other local growers and supply value-added products like salsa, jams, and honey. This farm”her” is doing big things in the world of small-scale farming. Jenny likens the farm’s foundation to the words of notable market gardener Jean Martin Fortier, “grow better, not bigger.”