Life Lab cultivates children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.
Drawing on over forty years of work with young people in gardens, Life Lab, is a national leader in the garden-based learning movement. Through workshops and consultations, we have provided tens of thousands of educators across the country with the inspiration and information necessary to engage young people in gardens and on farms. Our workshops and award-winning publications are the go-to resource for educators and families interested in engaging young people in gardens. At the Life Lab Garden Classroom educational center in Santa Cruz and the Blooming Classroom garden in Watsonville, we promote experiential learning for people of all ages through field trips, children’s camps, and teacher workshops. Through district-level partnerships, we help whole communities make a thriving garden classroom a core asset of all of their schools.
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Life Lab History
It all started in 1979 with a team of inspired teachers, some open land outside a classroom, and a vision. Since the first Life Lab school garden was created at Green Acres Elementary School in Santa Cruz, CA, Life Lab has continuously engaged young people in gardens and taught others to do the same. View a timeline of our history documented on our blog.
Life Lab is committed to advancing equity and inclusion as we cultivate children’s love of learning, nourishing food, and nature through garden-based education. Fulfilling this mission requires that we learn about and confront the barriers of oppression encountered by the communities with whom we work. We understand that racism is at the core of many intersecting inequities, operating on personal, interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels. Therefore, Life Lab values and builds partnerships with communities where systemic racism creates barriers to nature, wellness and experiential education. Life Lab knows that a staff with diverse lived experiences, reflective of the communities we serve, is essential to the work we do. We also recognize that equity and inclusion are both goals and daily practices. We strive to grow and support an organizational culture that centers ongoing learning, justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and solidarity. We believe that liberatory garden-based educational opportunities and organizational practices support a more just future.
MOTION To adopt the following organizational Equity Commitment for Life Lab as the first part of our Equity Rationale to inform our vision, planning and daily work. (Approved by the Board of Directors May 20, 2022)
(This commitment is the first part of a five-part Equity Rationale we are continuing to develop.)
Recognition for Life Lab
Life Lab has won numerous awards and has been acclaimed by the following groups and individuals, among others:
- National Science Teachers Association
- National Science Foundation
- National Science Resources Center/Smithsonian Institute
- California School Board Association
- U.S. Department of Education
- National Academy of Sciences
- U.S. Congressional Record
- California Senator Bruce McPherson
- United Way Family Friendly Workplace
- Santa Cruz Education Foundation
- Santa Cruz City Council
- National Parenting Publications Awards, Honors Winner
- Independent Publisher Book Awards
- Parents’ Choice Book Awards, Gold Medal
- Tillywig Toy Award: Books, Brain Child Award
For media inquiries, contact John Fisher, Outreach Director – email@example.com or 831.471.7831(cell)