Life Lab

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

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 Programs

See How We are Changing the Nature of Education

Who We’ve Trained Lately

Newsletters

Annual Reports

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 in the News
From the New York Times to our local TV stations, Life Lab has been press-worthy for over thirty years. View 35 plus years of press.


Organizational Equity Commitment

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:

For media inquiries, contact John Fisher, Outreach Director – gardendirector@lifelab.org or 831.471.7831(cell)

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Become a Life Lab Certified Gardener! 🌱🌻Based on the success of our first four cohorts of Life Lab-Certified Garden Educators, we are excited to announce that registration is now open for individuals to register and be part of our fifth cohort starting January 23rd, 2023! We’ve put together a series of 4 on-line courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. Upon successful completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator. Each course will last 4 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model. The total commitment for the full series is 16 weeks. Check out our website for more information! Registration for the full certification series is now open. Please share with others who are looking for ideas and inspiration in the garden! There are 24 spots available and we sold out in our last 4 certification series. We hope you can join us!Life Lab offers a limited number of course fee reductions based on need and anticipated impact. To apply for financial assistance, follow the link below. Scholarship applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis between now and December 1st, 2022 or until all funds have been awarded.

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Thanks Shmuel! and all those that joined the Starlight workday.

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7 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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7 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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7 months ago

Life Lab

We are so glad to be a part of this year’s Growing School Gardens Summit! 415 attendees from 45 states across the US, representing 6,000+ school gardens serving more than 2.5 million students. Here we go!!

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9 months ago

Life Lab

Rainbow Chips 📗🌱📙🍊📕🍅In this lesson students introduce themselves, create group agreements, listen to a story about a rainbow, and then go on a search for different colors in order to begin to form a personal connection with the #gardenclassroom .Also, we just wanted to show this really awesome squash gradience 😄#gardenbasededucation #NGSS #scienceinthegarden #schoolgarden #NGSGintheGarden

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9 months ago

Life Lab

Food Factories 🍅🥗😋In this lesson, students find leaves with holes in them and then construct explanations for what might havecaused those holes. They listen to a story book and add further possible explanations for the holes. Thenthey explore the garden to prepare to engage in argument from evidence about which explanation for these holes seems the most plausible. Finally, they relate this concept to plants that humans eat.#NGSGintheGarden #NGSS #gardenbasededucation

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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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