Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Not only is chard a delicious and amazingly healthy addition to any dish, as evident in all of the following recipes, it is also easy to grow in most regions. A great source for tips in starting your very own chard patch can be found at Organic Gardening. The history of chard and its discovery also offers some surprisingly compelling reading material, as told by one of our iconic Central Coast farmers and storytellers, Andy Griffin of Mariquita Farm.

 

For lessons related to chard check out the following:

Harvest of the Month Cooked Greens
Cooked Greens Workbooks
Developed by the LA Collaborative for Healthy Active Children

Chard Recipes

Chard Cakes – from the Esalen Cookbook
Makes about 6 cakes

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • ½ medium onion
  • ½ lb. chard, washed and dried
  • 1Tbs. sesame oil

Wisk the eggs, salt and water together. Slice the onion into thin half-moon slices. Remove the chard stems from the leaves. Thinly chop the chard stems. Layer the chard leaves on top of each other. Roll them into a burrito shape and slice thin ribbons.  Mix the onions, chard, and stems with the eggs.

Heat the oil on a skillet. Spoon out a scoop of the mixture on the pan. Cook each side until golden brown (about 4 minutes on each side).  Top with an herb cheese or sour cream sauce.

Garlicky Chard – from Bonny Doon Elementary, teacher Sarah Clarkson

  • Several bunches chard, washed and chopped
  • 1 small head garlic, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Soy sauce (optional)
  • Cooked bulgur, brown rice, or quinoa

Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat.  Add chopped garlic and sauté just until light golden brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from pan and place in small bowl.  Put pan back on burner and add the chard.  Sauté until wilted, in batches if needed.  Heat and serve the cooked grain, if using, topped with the chard.  Pass around the garlic to sprinkled on top, along with the soy sauce.

Note:  Garden Teacher, Jane Forbes at Westlake Elementary has also found the stir-fry technique to be popular, with the addition of any and all veggies her 4th and 5th grade class has around…other greens, broccoli, beets, carrots, and peas.

Hummus Stuffed Chard Roll-Ups – adapted from The Health Promoting Cookbook

  • 10 whole chard leaves, lightly steamed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup prepared hummus
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup diced green or red bell pepper
  • 2 whole tomatoes, diced
  • ½ peeled avocado, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, stir together rice, celery, bell pepper, tomatoes, lemon juice and basil.  Season with salt to taste.  Cut the stems off of the chard leaves just at the base.  On a cutting board, spread out the chard leaves one at a time.  Spread about one Tablespoonful of hummus on the chard.  Place a Tablespoonful of the rice mixture in the center of each leaf followed by a few pieces of avocado.  Roll up like a burrito, tucking the sides in before rolling completely.  Chill and serve.

Winter Pasta – adapted from 101Cookbooks.com

  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 small shallots, peeled
  • 1 bunch chard, stems removed
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 Tbsp. hot pasta water, plus more if needed
  • 12 oz. dried penne pasta (or another kind if desired)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • Fresh thyme (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots.  Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the chard and cook for another ten seconds.  Don’t overcook.  Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water.  Use a food processor or blender to puree the ingredients, along with the olive oil and goat cheese.  Add a couple Tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out.  Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice if using.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions.  Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce.  Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme and more crumbled goat cheese.

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4 days ago

Life Lab

Join us online for a fun family friendly “Gifts From The Garden” Webinar on November 30th at 4pm! Learn to create your own nature based holiday gifts. Life Lab staff will share tried and true crafts that we have made in our youth garden programs including rolled beeswax candles, pressed leaf & flower creations, and more! 🌸Register at LifeLab.org/events See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Fall 2020 updates. Stay tuned for NEW Life Lab developments coming soon! #sharingiscaring #change #reimagine #RENEW See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

🚨 Happening Today 🚨

We are grateful for the opportunity to invite you to a FREE Life Lab
screening of this important and beautiful film.

Today, October 30th at 7pm PST

Gather (Gather ), is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty and land rights, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. With regenerative agriculture and permaculture gaining national attention, it is more important than ever to recognize the tremendous innovations and contributions of Indigenous communities and practices. We are grateful Gather has become a key part of these discussions.

To view the screening this Friday, October 30th at 7pm, please make sure that you have RSVP’d via the Storyspaces screening platform link below.

story-spaces.com/events/gather-behyat See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

In the face of the myriad challenges of 2020, all of you in SGSOs across the country are innovating in creative and inspiring ways to sustain and enhance garden education for their students. We are eager for other SGSOs to learn from you!💚

We want to honor the time and expertise you all bring to the table and, therefore, with generous support from Whole Kids Foundation we are so pleased to be able to provide stipends for peoples’ contributions to these Working Groups.🌱

This year’s SGSO Institute is open to newcomers and SGSO Institute Alumni! Applications are due Nov 6, 2020.
To learn more about this exciting opportunity and apply, visit: lifelab.org/sgso See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation is proudly celebrating five years of supporting nonprofits that teach students and communities about the goodness of fresh ingredients. This year, the Foundation awarded more than 110 Neighborhood Grants to nonprofit organizations, with Life Lab being one of them!

We are grateful for the continued support from Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. Life Lab is honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the Neighborhood Grants. Our partnership reflects Sprouts Farmers Market’s core values of education, environmental stewardship, and nutrition.

With this support we have been able to launch and sustain BackPocketLearning.org, a robust directory of easy to use activities that require no screen time, promote healthy eating and inspires creativity. This site is perfect for teachers and parents alike! BackPocketLearning.org has garnished over 7k users from all over the world, in almost every continent, since our launch in April.

Sprouts Farmers Market

#sproutsfarmersmarket #MyLifelab #local #nonprofit See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🌱 Join the SGSO Leadership Institute 🌱

Every year, we host a School Garden Support Organization Leadership Institute to provide an opportunity for school garden professionals from across the country to collaborate, learn from one another, and develop resources to share with a national audience. Collectively, SGSO Institute participants have improved their own work while also sharing ideas and resources to help others do the same.

In the face of the myriad challenges of 2020, all of you in SGSOs across the country are innovating in creative and inspiring ways to sustain and enhance garden education for their students. We are eager for other SGSOs to learn from you! With generous support from Whole Kids Foundation , we are pleased to be able to provide stipends for peoples’ contributions to these Working Groups.

This year’s SGSO Institute is open to newcomers and SGSO Institute Alumni!

🚨 Applications are due November 6, 2020 🚨

To learn more about this exciting opportunity and apply, visit: lifelab.org/sgso See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Life Lab celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day with special recognition of the land on which our gardens grow and by sharing beautiful family friendly resources highlighting indigenous storytelling and efforts of Native peoples to reclaim food sovereignty, cultural identity, and native land stewardship.

The Life Lab Land Acknowledgement, now shared at all formal gatherings in our Garden Classroom on the UCSC campus:

“The land on which we gather is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.”

*Land acknowledgement developed in partnership with the
Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman and the Amah Mutsun
Relearning Program at the UCSC Arboretum.

Learn more about the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the
www.amahmutsunlandtrust.org/

Life Lab is honored to support the film, GATHER (Gather) with a
FREE virtual screening on October 30th at 7pm

📷 credit: Amah Mutsun Land Trust website See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Looking for some #garden #joy? Join us for a sweet sharing of Life Lab Reimagined: program updates, inspired learning, and community at our Fall Benefit this Saturday at 10:30am 🌱Register at Lifelab.org/fallbenefit 🌱Learn about our New Curriculum, New Life Lab Educator Certification Program, New Staff, and New Garden Additions👀Plus all the beautiful work we’re doing to support school garden education locally and nationally🌻Participants are automatically eligible to win a raffle prize courtesy of @synergyclothing ❤️ #schoolgarden #education #kisstheground #teachtheyouth #landstewardship #fundraiser See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

It’s Harvest Festival Week🌻happening virtually October 5-10th. A collaboration between the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems UCSC CASFS Farm Life Lab​, and students of UCSC Food Systems Working Group
Mark your calendar! The week-long series is full of fun virtual activities for all ages, with live streamed musical performances, a lecture on agroecology from a panel of experts, and ending the week with Life Lab’s #Funtastic Fall Benefit highlighting new program updates and staff/garden additions. Register at www.LifeLab.org/fallbenefit

Visit bit.ly/ucscharvestfest for a complete schedule of events and registration instructions.

Monday, October 5
7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Life Lab Backyard Chickens Q&A

Tuesday, October 6
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Saving Seeds, Sustaining Our Communities

Wednesday, October 7
1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
The evolution of agroecology as a practice, a research discipline, and a social movement

7:00 PM – 7:45 PM
Nurture Yourselves With Nature!

Thursday, October 8
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Cider Donut Workshop and The Everything Apple Panel

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Celebrating Queers and Nature

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Giant Green Anemone! Going Deep Into Local Tide Pool Explorations

Friday, October 9
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Planting Seeds For Success: Community Connections to Water Your Garden for Wellness!

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
What is the Food Systems Working Group and what does it do?

5:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Rachel Carson Garden Cooking + Poetry Workshop/Mic!

Saturday, October 10
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Life Lab Fall Benefit Gathering
#schoolgardens #gardeneducation #lifelab #harvest #gratitude See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Happy weekend everyone ☀️Enjoy this sweet share of the UCSC Farm featuring Life Lab 🌱and our chickens! 🐓We look forward to sharing more with all of you as part of our upcoming Fall Benefit on October 10th. Register at Lifelab.org/fallbenefit youtu.be/uEAv4SabLoA See MoreSee Less

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Stock up your Garden Classroom

Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom
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