Therese Ciesinski, in Green Scene Magazine, a publication of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (Jan.-Feb. 2014)
In rural New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, there’s a quiet revolution underway. It is led by two women who, tired of the status quo, said "enough." The weapon of resistance is a garden shovel. But the war isn’t against The Man. The war is against The Man’s tools.
The leaders of the movement are Ann Adams, a nurse, and Liz Brensinger, a public health educator. When they couldn’t find garden tools designed for women, they invented one. It is a combination garden spade/shovel called the HERShovel™.
Megan E. Phelps, in Mother Earth News (Dec 2013/ Jan 2014)
If you’re a female gardener who finds the average shovel just a little too large and awkward, you’ll appreciate the innovative HERS shovel-spade hybrid made by Green Heron Tools. This Pennsylvania-based company specializes in ergonomic tools for women, and offers a range of implements--from wheel hoes to hand plows--made to work well for those with smaller frames.
The shovel comes in three sizes, with recommendations on which to order based on your height. It’s also designed to take full advantage of your leg muscles, with an angle and enlarged step on the blade so you don’t have to rely as heavily on your upper-body strength. This tool is lightweight, sturdy, and easy to work into the ground. At $65, it’s not cheap, but it may be one of the most worthwhile garden tools you ever buy.
Bob Tedeschi, in The New York Times (July 2013)
Perhaps no tool epitomizes the old one-size-fits-all approach to gardening tools as much as the shovel. Ms. Ruch said she had heard good things about, but had not yet tested, the HERShovel designed for women.
HERShovel was developed by Green Heron Tools, a Pennsylvania-based start-up led by two women who enlisted the help of ergonomic researchers and female farmers. The result is a shovel with a D-shape handle, a shorter shaft and an angled blade that features oversize areas for foot placement. The makers say the design accounts for the fact that women rely more on lower body strength when shoveling.
The shovel weighs about four pounds, and comes in three sizes. I’m 6-foot-2, and the large version worked fine for me; I liked the handle as much as the one on the Transplanter Pro, and both were considerably better than my old dinosaur shovel (p. 2)
Alta LeCompte, in Las Cruces Bulletin (June 2013)
Although drought has made weeds scarce this summer, some insist on popping up in our desert gardens.
To make matters worse, most arrive protected by a powerful will to live. If they’re caught early, they can be pulled. If not, they send down tenancious vertical roots that defy any amount of effort. Typically they break off at ground level then sprout a fatter, more resistant stem.
Valerie Easton (June 2013), in the Seattle Times, Pacific NW Magazine
WHEN IT comes to staying safe in the garden, it's all about preventing injuries in the first place. You don't want to waste time recovering from a sore back because you couldn't resist moving that heavy pot by yourself, or a twisted ankle from stretching beyond your center of gravity to prune just one more limb. Especially this time of year, when we're scrambling to keep up, and all we want to do is accomplish one task and then the next.
Eileen Fisher (November 2012)
EILEEN FISHER, the women's clothing retailer, today announced the recipients of the 2012 EILEEN FISHER Business Grant Program for Women Entrepreneurs. Now in its ninth year, the Business Grant Program is awarded annually to wholly women-owned businesses that are innovative and foster environmental and economic health in their communities. The committee received more than 1,600 applications and awarded grants to five businesses.
Sanne Kure-Jensen (November 24, 2012)
Working carefully, taking care of your bones and muscles, helps extend the years you can keep doing what you love: farming, gardening and living well. “Good body mechanics are critical,” said Ann Adams & Liz Brensinger, from Green Heron Tools, in a webinar hosted by the UVM Extension New Farmer Project.
Lisa Kivirist of Hobby Farm Home (March/April 2012)
While the number of women farmers increased by a record 30 percent between 2OO2 and 2007, according to the last USDA Census of Agriculture, you wouldn't know it by the farm tools available at most retailers. Most items, particularly hand tools, are still designed with the male body in mind.
Read the entire article (pdf)
Cindy Briggs, staff/volunteer of the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati (March 2012)
I have fallen in love with a shovel. Finally.
As an able-bodied woman of average height and weight and shape (pear, thank you very much), who is perfectly capable of double digging a garden bed or digging a deep hole for a tree or shoveling mulch and/or cow manure into a wheelbarrow (in fact, likes to do such things) if given a satisfactory shovel, I have found myself, all of my gardening life, tossing man-sized shovels into a corner after a couple of hours of work, muttering off-color epithets, and reaching for Tylenol. The typical shovel...
Therese Ciesinski of Organic Gardening (Jan 2012)
Try to name some gardening tools made specifically for women. Pink ones don't count. Think of any? If you did, tell Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger of New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, because they'd like to sell them. In 2008, they founded Green Heron Tools to offer high-quality, sustainably made gardening equipment to women gardeners and farmers. But they ran into a snag that sounds like the setup to a joke: Two women start a company to sell women's tools, then can't find any to sell.
Green Heron Tools goes international! HERS & GHT founders Ann & Liz are featured in the December issue of the Japanese magazine SPUR. The piece, written by L.A.-based journalist Miho Nagano, is the lead-in to several other articles about women, farming & the food supply.
Cathie Draine, member of the South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and the Garden Writers' Association (Nov 17, 2011)
There are a number of reasons why I am a fan of (well, ok - addicted to) excellent garden tools. I want something thoughtfully engineered of superior materials, easily maintained and correct for the task. I also want a tool that will not hurt me. I prefer not to be cut, sprained, broken or otherwise muscularly impaired by some piece of the daintily decorated junk tools most often marketed "especially for women."
And then, I received information about the new HERShovel developed and marketed by Liz Brensinger and Ann Adams of Green Heron Tools in Pennsylvania...
Female Farmers: The New Food Industry Frontier
by Claire Gordon, AOL / Huffington Post (Sept 12, 2011)
When Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger started farming as a side job in 1995, they couldn't produce enough food. They wanted better tools. A rototiller that wasn't so unwieldy. A shovel that they could easily plunge into the earth. Farm equipment was designed for men, they realized, and men's bodies were different.
Why, they asked, does chicken feed have to come in 50-pound bags
Great Farming and Gardening Tools for Women
Interview by Megan Phelps, Mother Earth News (Feb 14, 2011)
The owners of Green Heron Tools talk about their research on women and tool use, and the need to design farm and garden tools with women in mind.
Ann and Liz, who both come from public health backgrounds, have been examining the general problem of how to make tools more ergonomic to prevent injuries. But their main focus is on a specific issue: Helping women find farm and garden tools that are better suited to their needs. This means tools that are appropriately sized for a woman’s height and arm length, but also tools found to be more ergonomic and efficient, based on field testing by female farmers and gardeners.
I recently followed up with Ann and Liz to learn more about their business, and their research on women and tools. Here’s what they had to say...
Designed for Women Farmers
by Margaret Gates, Regional Editor of Lancaster Farming News(October
When Liz Brensinger and Ann Adams started Green Heron Tools, they thought they would simply pool together in one place all the tools available specifically for women farmers. Only one problem — there weren’t any. And so began the odyssey...
"lf you want something done,. do it yourself." The idea that that well-worn expression might apply to us and the design of agricultural tools and equipment would have struck us as crazy just a few years ago.
Women make do. That's what they do. When something doesn't work, they make it work; because at the end of the day, things need to get done. And the garden is no exception. As ladies have twisted, pulled, pushed, and toiled in the soil over the centuries, they've done so largely with the aid of tools designed for men.
"The Invisible Woman - or, Should Women in Agriculture Be Forced
to Work with Tools Designed by and for Men?"
by Liz Brensinger, Co-owner of Green Heron Tools
Women, Food & Agriculture Network, Quarterly Newsletter (Spring
Book? Movie? Superhero? How about farmer? (Better yet: farming superhero!)
Despite the vital and ever-growing role of women in agriculture and the passionate advocacy of groups like WFAN, there’s at least one area in which women farmers have remained practically invisible until very recently: the realm of agricultural tools and equipment.
Green Heron Tools was created as a vehicle for supporting women farmers by providing better, more appropriate tools and equipment.
Tools designed for women are becoming a reality, thanks to the vision of two women, Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger, of New Tripoli, PA. In fact, they have stated their mission on the internet for all to see:
To provide high quality agricultural and gardening tools and equipment designed to work with women's bodies, thereby maximizing comfort, efficiency, productivity and safety.