Both the Garden Grabber and the Leaf Gripper Yard Tongs allow one to pick up gathered leaves and other debris without having to repeatedly bend down. These tools would be especially beneficial for people with back impairments or age-related limitations.
The American Council of the Blind of Maine (ACB of Maine) publishes routine e-newsletters with stories from around Maine. In the June 2013 Summer Edition Newsletter there was an article about the Maine AgrAbility Program: Focusing on Your Ability to Farm.
Arthritis & Agriculture
Two free workshops focused on arthritis in agricultural occupations were offered July 30, 2013 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester and at University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Knox-Lincoln County office in Waldoboro.
Amber Wolfe, Arthritis Foundation National AgrAbility Project Coordinator, and Lani Carlson, UMaine Extension Maine AgrAbility Coordinator, will share information on arthritis treatment and pain management options, sources of joint stress and pain on the farm, operational changes, modifications to farm equipment and assistive technology tools. The workshops are for farmers, gardeners, agricultural workers, healthcare professionals and the public.
Maine AgrAbility (umaine.edu/agrability) is a collaboration of UMaine Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One.
Arthritis affects approximately one-third of all adult farm and ranch operators and is considered one of the leading causes of disability by customers of the USDA AgrAbility Project. Arthritis can cause significant impairments to one’s mobility, dexterity, capacity to lift heavy loads and emotional well-being due to unmanaged pain and other factors. With the average age of the American farmer climbing above 57, increasingly more farmers will find tasks difficult to complete. Many agricultural workers do not know they may be at risk of developing arthritis. The Arthritis and Agriculture site provides educational resources and support information to agricultural workers and their families.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Maine AgrAbility program was mentioned in the Portland Press Herald blog “The Root: Dispatches from Maine’s food sources.” Lani Carlson, Maine AgrAbility project coordinator, spoke about the program that provides services and assistance to support Maine farmers with disabilities and their families so they can continue to have successful agricultural careers.
Friday, April 19, 2013
This hands-on workshop provides participants with an overview of hundreds of assistive technology solutions that can be created in minutes using everyday tools and materials found around the farm or in rural communities. Participants will learn amazing uses for 42 different tools and materials for fabricating quick solutions in rural remote areas without the need for electricity.
Farming values the family working together to take care of the land, animals and farmstead. Farm families are frequently challenged with limited time and resources and are in need of an immediate fix to a challenging situation. When a farmer experiences a disability this sense of urgency is even more important. The assistive technology solutions and methods developing and providing these solutions benefit everyone in all life functions at home, school, work and play.
Dr. Therese Willkomm, PhD, ATP, is an amazing Assistive Technology magician who has invented over 600 different Assistive Technology solutions including 50 different iPad solutions for people with disabilities. Dr. Willkomm holds a PhD in rehabilitation science and technology and is the director of New Hampshire’s state wide Assistive Technology program. She is also a clinical professor in the Department of occupational therapy at UNH and oversees the graduate certificate program in Assistive Technology. She also has over 25 years of experience assisting over 1,200 farmers with disabilities. Dr. Willkomm was the first project coordinator of Breaking New Ground in the Agricultural Engineering Department at Purdue University and has developed over 30 different resources on farming with a disability.
Maine AgrAbility is a non-profit collaboration of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, and Alpha One. Maine AgrAbility is part of a nationwide network of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs begun through the 1990 Farm Bill. The goal of the National AgrAbility Project is to inform, educate, and assist farmers, ranchers, farm workers, and their families with disabilities, so they can continue to have successful careers in agriculture.
Participants will learn how to handle tractors and equipment safely, how to identify hazards, and how to minimize the chances of accidents. The course is open to all adults and youth interested, but priority will be given to youth ages 14 to 16. This course is required for 14 and 15 year olds who plan to operate farm equipment for hire on farms other than their own. A Federal Certificate of Training will be issued at the completion of the course after successful completion of the written test and driving course and with attendance requirements met.
For more information or to register, select a location near you: