Great Farming and Gardening Tools for Women
Follow that link, a fascinating read, with some surprising ideas and information! Work more safely with less effort! Women have traditionally made do with what has been available, never giving it a further thought. Sports of all kinds, backpacking, biking, climbing, all now have women specific clothing and gear for women’s sizes and shapes. There are specially made garden tools, not toys, for kids. Don’t be fooled by pretty flower prints, pink, or the girly bags tools come in. See if the tools themselves are really made the right size for women, if they are ergonomic. If your tools aren’t ergonomic, you can get grips that attach to your tool! If you can’t get special tools, choose lighter weight, shorter handle lengths. You don’t have to man-up. Gloves, shoes, boots, hats?! Your choice, but tools?! Choose what’s right for you!
Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger, 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. An amazing number of women are or have become farmers! Stats from Ann & Liz: Sixty to 80 percent of the food in developing countries is grown by women. From 1997 to 2002, for example, the number of farms operated by women increased 13 percent. Between 2002 and 2007, there was another 29 percent increase in women-operated farms.
Tool changes are based on physical differences. They say ‘women have 40 to 75 percent less upper-body strength then men. We also have 5 to 30 percent less lower-body strength. Obviously the difference is greater with upper body-strength, and if you think about it, a lot of tools are really dependent on using that upper body. So, for example, a man will take a shovel and basically thrust it into the ground using his upper body. Very few women have the ability to do that.’ Their new shovel, from handle to shaft length to blade, will be based on women’s bodies and how women shovel. Many of their tools will make you be able to work while standing up straight, reducing lower back injury. They are saying a tall man and a short woman can use the new adjustable tools!
So far, things they are recommending are:
- Pull cords for combustion engines, like lawn mowers, are usually too long for a woman’s arm, so those are being shortened!
- Tools like pruners and hoes, will be ergonomically more suited to women, to reduce injuries and carpel tunnel.
- Would you believe the 3-point-tractor hitch is being eliminated in favor of a light weight hitch that can be changed from the tractor seat?! Saves work time. Sounds like everyone will benefit from that one!
- They have a grant from the USDA to figure out alternatives to heavy difficult-to-handle walk-behind rototillers, especially to reduce the vibration.
- 25 lb sacks of chicken feed instead of 50 lb sacks!
- Smaller pails for heavy liquids on dairy farms.
- Smaller handles to fit a woman’s hand size.
Not only will these changes benefit women, but smaller men, and elders of both sexes! Christmas is coming.
Next week, Magical October Veggie Planting!