How we're responding to COVID-19 >

Request Info > Apply > Virtual Visit >

Students in the new program in regenerative organic agriculture are enjoying using approximately 30 new hand tools donated in January by Iowa tool manufacturing company Wilcox All-Pro Tools, including a variety of short- and long-handled digging trowels, weeders, soil scoops, and soil sifters.

The students have been using them to plant beds in the Sustainable Living Center’s arboretum and to seed flats for the upcoming season.

“We’re excited to expose students, not only to regenerative agriculture, but also to the larger context of local production, such as Wilcox Tools, which are made in Montezuma, Iowa,” said Professor A. Thimmaiah.

The donation came about as a result of farm Manager Kris Johnson and assistant manager Dan Harvey meeting owner Mitch Hermiston at the Practical Farmers of Iowa annual conference. Following the conference they contacted Mr. Hermiston and invited him to visit the Sustainable Living Center and to learn the details of the new program.

“He was elated to learn about the program and brought tools to donate,” Mr Harvey said. “He was excited to get tools into students’ hands and to receive feedback.”
Wilcox tools have been a staple in the gardening and treasure-hunting worlds since 1977, and have been touted by many big-name companies.

“The design of the tools has not changed since the beginning, with the same one-piece stainless steel construction,” Mr. Hermiston says. “Backed by a lifetime guarantee to never break, the tools last a lifetime.”
He was recently approached by a customer who had had his model 250 trowel for 33 years.

Mr. Hermiston recently purchased the company with the goal of getting the product into more users’ hands so they can have the enjoyment of a great tool that does not break.
Last block the students took the soil science course taught by Francis Thicke of Radiance Dairy, Jim Schaefer of Soil Technologies Corporation, and Sam James of the Sustainable Living Department. Next block will be biodynamic agriculture with Dr. Thimmaiah before students head out to the field for the remainder of the season.

Jim Karpen is a writer by trade, with a special focus on technology. He has a Ph.D. in English and studied the impact of the computerization of language. In addition to writing for iPhone Life magazine, he has also been writing a column about the Internet for the Iowa Source since 1994. He also edits and publishes the MUM Review.