8 June 2022

Members of the CREST Science Award Club have been taking part in the Squashed Tomato Challenge this term. This is linked to the work of the Practical Action charity which works with communities in developing countries to solve local problems using easily available resources and technology. The Challenge involves building a working model of a system capable of transporting perishable commodities, such as tomatoes, from a mountain station to the market in the valley below and simulates a real engineering project built with Practical Action’s support in Nepal. Nepalese hill farming communities are now able to use a water powered cable car system to transport produce to the valley towns in a fraction of the time it would take to carry them by mule down steep, mountain paths. Far less produce is therefore damaged and wasted so that the farmers make more money to support their families and pay for community projects such as schools and medical facilities. The CREST club members are trying out a variety of their own designs using pulley systems or innovative water chutes to carry the produce. When their designs have been perfected they will be tested with real tomatoes in a set time interval to see which ones are most successful. The teams then hope to write up reports and presentations for submission to the British Science Association for CREST Awards.

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