The GoodTimes recognized the work of Life Lab’s Education Director Whitney Cohen.
The Community Spotlight:
“Like so many adults, I assumed for many years that kids didn’t like vegetables,” recalls Whitney Cohen. “As it turns out, this myth is just dead wrong.” As the Education Director for local nonprofit, Life Lab, since 2007, Cohen has been using knowledge of the universal love of fresh produce as a teaching tool for local, national, and overseas educators. Introducing gardening in early childhood education allows the children to become familiar with the food group and its origins. It is no wonder Life Lab is the national leader in farm/garden based education with its various programs that “[teach] people to care for themselves, each other, and the world,” as their website so cheerfully states.
Garden Classroom and off-site workshops, camps, field trips, and youth programs are all used to promote experiential learning for all ages. It is Cohen’s job to share the work done on the ground with young students at the Santa Cruz garden site with educators who would like to incorporate garden-based learning in their teaching. “I teach them to lead science and nutrition lessons, to build compost, and to sing songs about the six plant parts,” describes Cohen, “all with a focus on how to make this work with kids”
In her time working with Life Lab, Cohen has written the highly acclaimed Kids’s Garden Cards with a number of interactive activities and games to encourage children to engage with their outside environments. Cohen has co-authored Life Lab’s newest publication, “The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids.” It is scheduled to hit shelves in May. “Day after day, I see young people of all ages, from all socioeconomic background, harvest, wash, prepare and eat fresh vegetables from our Garden Classroom,” Cohen proudly notes. “Without fail, they are delighted by the taste of this food they have had a hand in harvesting and preparing.”