Designing for Farmers


Visit to Carts and Tools

My sister, Amanda McClelland, paid a visit to Carts and Tools to see what my internship is all about. She works for Circle H Farm, and was my inspiration to start designing tools for small-scale farmers.  While studying product design at the University of Oregon, I was searching for ideas for my senior studio project, and she told me that Circle H was lacking a good harvest cart.

Circle H is located in the lush hills of Dexter, Oregon and is a prime example for what sustainable agriculture should look like.  With only 3-5 full time employees, the farm is able to grow a wide variety of organic produce all year round, supplying herbs, fruits, and vegetables to the Eugene and Springfield farmer’s markets, about 40 CSA members, and local restaurants.

While visiting Circle H, I noticed that a good portion of the tools on the farm were hand built by the farmers themselves.  Almost all of the carts that they were using were jerry-rigged together from old bicycle parts and scraps of wood and metal, and some looked as though they could fall apart at any moment.  I learned that the reason they were building these tools themselves rather than buying professionally built products was that the specific tools they needed were simply not available on the market. This is when I decided to start applying my knowledge and passion for good design to small-scale farming.

One of the most exciting parts about designing for small-scale farmers is seeing their reactions while trying out the new products.  This was my sister’s first time trying out the Tillie and Solus and she was truly impressed with both tools.

“It’s so quiet and easy to use” she remarked while using the Solus to cultivate next to the broccoli.

She told me about how just the other week she had to use a gas-powered rototiller at Circle H, and how quiet and effortless the Tillie was in comparison.  The shear vibration of the gas-powered tiller was enough to make her arms feel like Jell-o, and the noise took away all the serenity and enjoyment of being on the farm.  With the battery-powered Tillie and Solus she could farm much more efficiently and still hear the sound of birds chirping and wind blowing through the trees.  She is excited to see what products Carts and Tools releases next.


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