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Valley High student wins nearly $10,000 to resurrect abandoned greenhouse

For nearly 10 years, Valley High School's greenhouse sat unused — its plants left to rot after its cooling system broke down and sat in need of repairs.

Where a small plat of land full of weeds and dried dirt once sat just outside the abandoned building now an array of colors bloom — unseen until just five months ago.

Underneath the bursting greenery of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and basil plants, engrained in 10 tons of soil that Nathan Steimel's hands toiled over for months, is more than a year's worth of work toward the rising senior's legacy.

That work received a major boost recently when Valley High School received $5,000 from the Bayer Fund, an organization focused on food, nutrition and STEM education, thanks to Steimel's application to win funds to put toward a new cooling system.

Steimel began searching for ways to raise money for a new passive cooling system, which aids in the space's ventilation, needed for plants to survive in the greenhouse — and that was expected to cost around $4,000.

The remaining funds were used to purchase tools, such as hoses and pots, to plant seeds. Steimel and the Greenhouse Club he helped launch sold tomato, pepper, lettuce and spinach plants to raise money for additional equipment and seeds through a fundraiser in May.

"Whatever isn't sold comes out here, and then this sustains a food pantry or the community," Griffith said.

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