Life Lab

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

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Pacific Elementary School Garden has a FoodLab cooking kitchen program which produces and saves kitchen scraps to be composted and fed to worms. In addition to lunchroom kitchen scraps a local restaurant saves salad prep scraps in 5 gallon buckets to build compost. Each week 4-8 5 gallon buckets of greens are added to the composting systems. A strawbale sits next to the compost bin as “browns”.  Learn more, see photos and download logs & procedures.

Gault Elementary in Santa Cruz, CA has a compost system that includes vermicomposting and bin composting. The vermicompost is used for composting food scraps from nutrition education tasting activities in the garden and food scraps from the three kindergarten classrooms’ snack scraps. There are two composting bins and a tumbler, which are used to compost the school lunch waste and cafeteria waste three days per week. Children collect buckets from lunch area and bring the food scraps in a wagon to the garden where they dump the bucket into the compost bin and add an equal amount of a carbon source (dry leaves or straw) and a scoop of dirt to introduce microbes. Lunch supervisors monitor the buckets during lunch time. The finished compost is then applied to the school garden at Gualt Elementary.

Westlake Elementary in Santa Cruz, CA has great educational composts in their school garden. The worm bin is used for food scraps that are generated during tastings at the garden classroom. The pile is used to recycle plant material from the garden and turned occasionally by students when led in a compost demonstration. The compost is then applied to the garden beds.

Upper Valley Farm to School Network, a small non-profit in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire, recaps a school compost tour they gave to garden educators on this page. The tour visited three elementary schools and each school had a different composting system that met different composting needs. Great examples!

Here is a 98 page compost manual made by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shows the steps to establish and maintain a successful school-wide composting program.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District in Northeast Ohio presents four case studies of different composting systems including tumbler compost bins, compost digesters, worm bins, and constructing compost bins from reused materials. Each school has a different compost system and different tips that help you keep your compost healthy. Read about four compost case studies here!

Quabbin Regional High School in Hubbardston, MA has volunteer students who help monitor lunch food scrap collection and move that contents to the compost. With a large two bin system the school can produce 150 cubic feet of compost a year. Read here for more details on Quabbin’s compost!

Kinard Middle School In Fort Collins, CO composts cafeteria scraps through vermicomposting and heat composting. Vermicomposting is done at the school and heat composting is sent off site. Watch the video to see how it works!

Crawford High School in San Diego, CA has a composting program which pays interns to help in the garden. They compost food scraps from the cafeteria in the garden compost and sell the finished product.

Groton Central School in Groton, NY has a student initiated compost program that puts food scraps from the cafeteria into a multi-bin compost design. Watch the video to see how the 8th grade wood shop constructed this system and have reduced food waste going to landfills.

Please share about your school’s compost system in the comments section below!

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1 month ago

Readers To Eaters

Time for Summer Gardening! Thrilled to partner on @big green’s #ReadAsYouGrow, "connecting the stories and ideas that they are exploring in these fantastic books to what they can observe while growing food in their garden," with Readers To Eaters books in English & Spanish. See video on prgrm+ resource bit.ly/3JLxGMe ..#SummerGardening #SummerLearning #SummerReading #KidsGardening #OutdoorEducation National Summer Learning AssociationNational Environmental Education Foundation – NEEFNational Farm to School Network Common ThreadsNational Agriculture in the Classroom Life Lab

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1 month ago

Readers To Eaters

Love this new review on Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild from Shelf Awareness! bit.ly/3bG3czi "Martin and Lee incorporate quotes from Katz throughout their energetic, onomatopoeic text… Julie Wilson’s casual, enthusiastic, earth-toned illustrations suit the subject and Katz’s effervescent personality. The entertainment value here is rivaled by expansive backmatter including an afterword by Katz addressing readers, a visual guide to kraut-making, long author and illustrator notes (including ethnographic research) and additional resources.A fizzy and informative celebration of fermentation that enthusiastically supports curious experimentation and food literacy."..#FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #FoodHeroes #FoodBiography #FoodWriter #Fermentor #Fermentation #NoHeatCooking #TinyWild #Microbes #FoodScience #STEM #LGBTQ #Queer #QueerCommunity #SummerReading #SummerLearning #SummerCooking #SummerGardening #KidsGardening American Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureNational Farm to School Network Tennessee Library Association Tennessee Agriculture in the ClassroomSlow Food Middle TennesseeJunior Master Gardener Program The American Horticultural Society Big Green Life LabChelsea Green Publishing

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2 months ago

Philip Lee

So excitd about #MDSNAPEd #EatYourWords kickoff Thur! Check out video on summer program connecting #NutritionEducation & #EarlyLiteracy, giving away 50,000 Sylvia’s Spinach at schools and #FarmersMarkets. Event info+ kickoff w author Katherine Pryor+ resources @ extension.umd.edu/eat-your-words..#SNAPEd #EarlyLiteracy #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #Nutrition #NutritionEducation #EatingFresh #EatingVegetables #KidsGardneing #SchoolGarden #FarmToSchoolSlow Food USA School Garden NetworkBig Green Common Threads Pilot Light Life Lab

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#tbt to that time two weeks ago we were at the School Garden Support Organization – SGSO – Network conference organized by Sprouts Farmers Market and Life Lab !Check out this cool recap video Jen put together – love how we’re #growingschoolgardens together!#veggiecatethefirststate #STEMeducation #handsonlearning #schoolgardens #kidswhogarden

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3 months ago

Life Lab

www.lifelab.org/jobs Full-time Bilingual Garden Educators at PVUSD School Gardens and Summer Program Staff at Garden Classroom on UCSC Farm

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3 months ago

Life Lab

Full-time Career and Summer Staff Positions in @pajarovalleyusd school gardens and the Life Lab Garden Classroom. On the @ucscagroecology farm @ucsc @pvusdschoolfood lifeLab.org/jobs

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3 months ago

Readers To Eaters

Thrilled that The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter is NC Farm Bureau "Ag in the Classroom" #BookOfTheMonth! Check out their terrific Activity Guide, including a few fun facts:• The honeybee is the state insect for North Carolina and 15 other states? • In North Carolina, bees help to pollinate strawberries, apples, and broccoli to name a few.bit.ly/3tE6nLASee this reading of author/illustrator Shabazz Larkin for PBS/ Thirteen WNET New York. bit.ly/32LQ0S0Good sharing for United Nations #WorldBeeDay on 5/20 and June #NationalPollinatorsMonth. ..#AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #FarmToSchool #Bees #Pollinators #Pollination #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #DiverseBooks National Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureNCLA: North Carolina Library AssociationNC School Library Media AssociationState Library of North CarolinaASAP – Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture ProjectNational Farm to School Network The Bee Cause Project The Pollinator Partnership North Carolina State Beekeepers AssociationNC Beekeepers Forsyth County Beekeepers Association of N.C.Whole Kids Foundation Big Green FoodCorps Life LabThe Black Church Food Security Network The Brown Bookshelf Multicultural Children’s Book Day We Need Diverse Books

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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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