Assistive Technology Spotlight: Ergonomic Gardening Tools

If April showers bring May flowers, then we are already headed towards a beautiful spring!


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AgrAbility PA Project Assistant Abbie Spackman shared garden-related assistive technology at the Occupational Therapy Association Conference (AOTA) in Philadelphia this spring.


Pair this with the beautiful, mild weather we’ve been having, it can be exciting to get back outside and into your flowerbeds or garden. But painful hands, wrists, and backs can quickly dissipate that excitement.

Head to your local gardening store or visit sites online to find the perfect garden tools for you. For a tool to be truly ergonomic, it needs to be fitted to each individual. This is why we recommend trying tools out before you buy them. What fits one person may not fit you!

Visit this website for a wonderful resource on gardening with arthritis!

Here are several tools we commonly recommend:

Green Heron Tools: This company sells tools ergonomically built for women. Try out their shovels or a pair of pruners that come in two sizes.

Radius Gardening Tools: They are lightweight and have curved handles that allow for different writs positions. They also have larger grips that can reduce joint pain in your hands.


Disability Work Tools Robo Handle: This handle can be added to tools you already have! The unique grip allows your wrist to stay in a natural position.

Heron shovels

Green Heron Shovels

Ergo Trowel

Ergonomic Trowel

Robo Handle

Robo Handle

Now…get outside and enjoy gardening! In between the rain. πŸ™‚


AgrAbility PA travels to Tennessee for 2017 National AgrAbility Training Workshop

Aida Balsano addressing the workshop attendees on the first day.

Members of the AgrAbility PA staff traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to attend the 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop, March 20-23.

Abbie Spackman, case coordinator and project assistant, and Kendra Martin, digital media and outreach coordinator, as well as a farmer and an occupational therapist represented AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) at the national workshop. The workshop was packed full of speakers, educational sessions, networking opportunities, hands-on demonstrations, and farm tours. Topics included service to veterans, assistive technology, financial assistance, new and beginning farmers, health and wellness sessions, sustainability, outreach strategies, and more. Sessions also included information on farming with a brain injury, mental health, urban agriculture, military culture, and niche markets.


Kendra Martin at the AgrAbility PA booth as an exhibitor.

Highlights included an update from Aida Balsano, national program leader with the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture; motivational speaker Ashlee Lundvall, who was paralyzed in a ranching incident in 1999, spoke at the annual banquet dinner; and assistive technology demonstrations and tours of local Tennessee farms involved in farm to table and hydroponic operations.

Farm tour 2017 AgrAbility NTW

A farm tour in Tennessee.

Overall, the 2017 AgrAbility National Training Workshop was a great learning experience and provided an opportunity to connect with dozens of people committed to the mission of AgrAbility: to promote success in agriculture for farmers with a disability or long-term health condition.

AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians (AgrAbility PA) is a statewide partnership between Penn State Extension and UCP Central PA in support of a project funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Learn more about AgrAbility PA by visiting or search @AgrAbilityPA on social media.