Wait! Was that a cucumber that just raced by? Or was it a squash being ‘driven’ by a grape? UF students will be asking these and other high level philosophical questions at the first annual Fruit & Vegetable Derby, Thursday, Oct. 13.
Sponsored by Findlay Green Campus Initiative (FGCI), the Derby will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the bell tower in Cory Street Mall. (In case of bad weather, the event will move to the Alumni Memorial Union atrium).
Rules for the derby are simple. Participants must build a vehicle completely out of fruits, vegetables and toothpicks. The compostable creations will be sent down a 16-foot ramp, with the winner being the one that travels the greatest distance. Students, faculty and staff can create their entries ahead of time or make them at the race site.
Physics students of Landon Bellavia, Ph.D., and Guofen “Heather” Yu, Ph.D., are considered the favorites in the race, utilizing the laws of aerodynamics and chlorophyll in their favor. However, Dining Services has the best raw materials, so the competition could be close.
Amy DePuy and Barbara Lockard, FGCI co-chairs, felt that since this is the first year for the event, they would allow wheels made from materials other than produce. “I hear one of the physics students is using lawnmower wheels,” said Lockard.
Thursday’s event is being held to showcase sustainable initiatives on campus, especially Findlay Greens, which sells naturally grown produce and is operated by Oiler Enterprises, a program of student-run businesses. Other FGCI projects are Recycle-Cycle, which makes bicycles available to students for a low, one-time charge; the Sensory Garden, rain garden, and special events held throughout the academic year.
The Fruit and Vegetable Derby is a prelude to UF’s Homecoming and Family Weekend, which officially begins on Friday, Oct. 14.