One of the goals of this blog was to celebrate great, innovative design, and if it overlaps with landscaping? Even better, which is why I love sharing these garden tools for women!
Ergonomic garden tools for women!
This morning I came across a piece in Grist talking about Green Heron Tools. It’s a woman owned tool company but what’s even more exciting is the fact that they’re doing actual research in ergonomics and body movement and developing tools that play to womens’ strengths. Anyone who’s ever been in a gym and seen a woman on the track team out-legpress all the guys on the football team knows women often have superior lower body strength, but:
With the help of a USDA grant, the pair hired engineers and an occupational therapist to test various farming tools and look at the way women used them. “They discovered women use tools very differently,” writes Huso. “They put shovels into the ground at an angle to take advantage of lower body strength, rather than straight down as men do. (emphasis mine)” As a result, Green Heron Tools developed the HERS shovel. The handle is designed to better fit female hands and the enlarged blade top with tread makes the most of lower-body strength.
That’s so incredibly obvious and yet so incredibly genius and they figured it out first.
I have female clients and female friends who love getting out in the dirt, either professionally or for fun. Whenever I’ve seen “tools for women” at the store I’ve been embarrassed for the (probably male) marketing guy who just decided to scale a shovel down 30% and paint it lavender. These, I would buy.
In doing a little more research on these brilliant women, I saw something touched on that made a lot of sense. Because their tools are scaled for folks smaller than, say, me, and they’re not crazily gendered with pinks and pastels, smaller men can use these as well. Unsurprisingly I’ve worked with a lot of guys smaller than me in my career, and I’ve seen a lot of tools modified for someone a foot and a half shorter than me. I think it’s great that there are tools out there that will work for someone right off the shelf, without them having to cut a foot off the handle and wrap the split end in electrical tape.
They’re also working on a tiller that will be easier to maneuver and be a lot less punishing on the body. Look, that’s not just good for women. When I go to see my spine doctor the waiting room is always full. We’re a population that’s wrecking our bodies in a variety of ways. While I certainly prefer a high horsepower Italian-made rear tine tiller that could chew through titanium, the reality is that those things beat the snot out of you. Anything with that much power and that much vibration really aggravates my spinal injuries, and can take me out of commission for a day if I’m not careful. If they’re developing something that may be a little slower but will till just as effectively, I’m in. I scoffed at ergonomics when I was 20 and now, approaching 40, I want to take a time machine and smack 20 year old me with a 2×4.
If you appreciate thoughtful design, definitely check these guys out. Green Heron Tools is the company. You can also read a cool piece about them at Modern Farmer here. Ann Adams and Liz Brensigner, you guys are awesome!