Read about SBIR Grant - Phase I

USDA Small Business Innovation Research Grant
Phase II


In September, 2010, Green Heron Tools received its second U.S. Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research grant. This grant followed the successful completion of our smaller Phase I award, which ended in January 2010 and paid for most of the design costs associated with our shovel for women, HERS™, released in September, 2011. The Phase II grant will allow us to address one of the top priorities of women farmers, market growers and gardeners: redesign of the traditional rototiller, which women have described as too big, too heavy, too difficult to maneuver, too hard to start, too noisy, and with controls & handles poorly designed for women (in addition to other descriptors unsuitable for inclusion here).

  • Phase II grant title: Research and Development of Alternatives to the Walk-Behind Rotary Tiller Suitable for Women Farmers
  • Timeframe: September, 2010 through at least August, 2012
  • Excerpts from our grant summary:

Tools and equipment function best and are safest and easiest to operate when they fit the user. Despite increases in the number of women farmers and the significant differences between women’s and men’s bodies, women typically have to use agricultural equipment designed for men. Some anatomical and physiological characteristics place women at higher risk for farm injuries and musculoskeletal disabilities (MSDs), the leading cause of disability for people in their working years. Redesigning small machinery is a major strategy to prevent MSDs.
Green Heron Tools, LLC, is proposing to research safer, more user-friendly alternatives to the traditional walk-behind rotary tiller, a vital piece of equipment on small farms. Objectives include:

  • To design and build a prototype of a rototiller-substitute compatible with the anthropometrics, physiology, needs and preferences of women users
  • To research the technical feasibility and economic viability of using alternative (non-fossil) fuels to power the tiller
  • To research appropriate manufacturing options, marketing strategies and distribution channels for the tiller

Anticipated results include reduced injuries and disabilities and improved quality of life and productivity for female farmers.

Once again, our grant proposal enjoyed the support of women’s agricultural organizations, sustainable agriculture organizations, agricultural safety researchers, and women farmers, market growers and gardeners from throughout the U.S. We are honored and humbled by your support and will do our best to live up to your hopes and expectations for our project.

To meet our Phase II Design Team, click here

Click here to view or download a PowerPoint presentation with more detailed information about the need for tools & equipment for women; the connections among tools, equipment, safety & health; and our Phase I SBIR grant.

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