Your Name: Ann Adams & Liz Brensinger

Business Name: Green Heron Tools LLC, a maker of farming and gardening tools for women

Type of Business: E-Commerce/Manufacturing

Business Location: New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, United States


Reason for starting
Through our work as market growers (small-scale farmers) we recognized that there was a lack of tools that worked well for women. As public health professionals, we also recognized that this could impact the health and safety of women, who are playing an increasingly large role in farming in the U.S. With backgrounds as consultants to not-for-profits, we knew we needed to develop a plan to remedy this unacceptable oversight. We did, and Green Heron Tools was birthed.

How do you define success?
Success to us is providing a service/product that protects the health and safety of a previously neglected population and in doing so support ourselves. Also necessary for us to feel successful is to provide the services and products in a way that is sustainable and protects mother earth. This allows us to be part of the circle of life created when women farmers and gardeners farm in ways that sustain the mother.

Biggest Success
Introduction of our first product, HERShovel™, a shovel-spade hybrid designed specifically for women. This hergonomic® shovel (ergonomic, for women) meets all the criteria of how we define success. Best of all, women love and appreciate it!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
To date our top challenge has been finding the resources that will make our business sustainable for the long run. We have been fortunate to receive grant funding from the USDA SBIR program, which funded the research necessary to truly develop products based on women’s bodies and needs. Other than grants, including two from USDA and one from Eileen Fisher, we have self-financed the business. We are currently looking into some nontraditional and traditional ways to raise the necessary capital to bring our second piece of equipment to market. As it is a large, more complex piece of equipment it will require a substantial amount of financial resources. We are looking at online sites like We are also considering asking individuals who are connected to the community of women farmers for small investments. It will probably be necessary to look for a small business loan.

Who is your most important role model?
Anita Roddick, who built a successful business on a foundation of making the world a better place