Life Lab

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

Category : About Life Lab

40 Years of Growth: Growing a Career in Garden Education

Growing a Career in Garden Education   Elena Steger, a recent UC Santa Cruz graduate and intern at Life Lab, is on a journey to pursue her calling.   In high school, “environmental studies” was the “one class that didn’t feel like work” she [...]

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A New Kind of Leadership and Shared Vision for Life Lab  

A New Kind of Leadership and Shared Vision for Life Lab   Amid the beauty of summer on the farm and the wonderful energy of our camp kids here, there was a different and very special Moment in July that we're excited to share with you. On July 8th, Judit Camacho jo [...]

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Engaging University Students in Local School Gardens

Engaging University Students in Local School Gardens:  A Toolkit for School Districts, School Garden Support Organizations and Universities Created by UC Davis Student Farm, Life Lab, and UC Berkeley This guidebook summarizes three different models of U [...]

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Quotes

George Washington Carver wrote the following based on his experiences with school gardening at the Children’s House, an elementary school on the grounds of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School (later renamed Tuskegee University): Nature study as it comes from th [...]

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Life Lab grows gardeners through ‘the power of garden-based learning’ – Santa Cruz Sentinel

Posted on at Santa Cruz Sentinel June 14, 2018 By Calvin Men View as PDF When you ask John Fisher how he knows school gardens have an impact, he’s quick to pluck a memory from years ago. Third graders were out in a garden and among them was a recent immigrant [...]

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Watsonville School Garden Crew – Spring 2017

June 7th - Hall District School Flower Planting and Irrigation Installation Today we planted flowers with first graders and continued irrigaiton installation May 31 - Hall District School Irrigation Installation / Popcorn and Dry Bean Planting Today we [...]

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kids in the garden


Watsonville School Garden Crew – Winter 2017

See what we are up to with our Winter 2017 Watsonville School Garden Crew March 8 - Radcliffe School Garden Clean Up and Redesign Today we repaired some garden beds, moved and filled garden beds to sunnier spots of the garden, and set up an outdoor seating area. [...]

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teens in the garden


Plant It, Grow It, Eat It! Workshop Teaches Garden-Based Nutrition

View this article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel By Devika Garg-Bansal SANTA CRUZ >> Kids and vegetables are not exactly best friends. Parents know this all too well, as do restaurants that put out mac and cheese on kids' menus. Getting kids to have a healthy balanced di [...]

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educators in the garden


Whitney Cohen on Garden Based Education – An Urban Farm U Podcast

Whitney Cohen on Garden Based Education Examining school garden support organizations to promote natural world learning. Whitney is a teacher, trainer, and author with tremendous commitment to, and expertise in, inquiry- and place-based education; strategies for en [...]

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Whitney Cohen


Intern with Life Lab

Come work with kids in a garden setting. We have placements year round at our Garden Classroom Site on the UCSC Farm or in Watsonville at our Blooming Classroom Site. Additionally our School Garden Corps program places interns to work at school gardens and provides trai [...]

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kids in the garden with chicken


Making Waves

It was a pleasant surprise to see Life Lab as the featured non-profit in the Aug/Sept 2015 issue of Santa Cruz Waves. They did a great job summarizing what we do. Thanks Linda Koffman and Santa Cruz Waves. [...]

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See Our New Blooming Classroom Site

Learn more about our work in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District at www.lifelab.org/pajaro. [...]

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2014 Summer Camp Highlights!

View Photos from the 2014 Camp Season Aahhh, summer.... there's no shortage of things to do while the days are long and temperatures are soaring. If you're wanting to find some fun activities then take a look on www.globosurfer.com/ as they have guides on everyth [...]

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New Edition of The Growing Classroom!

A brand new edition of our most popular garden and nutrition activity guide is hot off the presses! The 4th Edition of The Growing Classroom includes new and updated hands-on activities to bring learning to life for elementary school students. There is a new chapter [...]

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We’re Changing the Nature of Education

View Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen's inspiring description of how Life Lab is changing the nature of education to the audience of our 2014 Benefit Brunch. Please consider supporting Life Lab's work. Make a donation today.     For th [...]

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changing the nature education


1,700+ Educators Trained in California School Garden Training Program

The California School Garden Training Program (CSGT) trained 1,729 educators from 2012- June, 2014. It includes workshops on Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) and Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (GENE). CSGT also conducts Train-the-Trainer Works [...]

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The Danes Are Here

We have been having a great time showing visitors from Denmark some of the best farm to school and school garden programs in the region. The Danish study tour group, organized by Life Lab, is composed of eighteen government ministers, university faculty and graduate stu [...]

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EdWeb’s Growing School Gardens Online Community and Webinars

Life Lab is a proud partner of EdWeb's online community and a contributor to their school garden webinars. Join the community and online forum at Ed Web View archives of webinars by Life Lab Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigatio [...]

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Fall 2013 Newsletter

View our September 2013 Newsletter View newsletter archives Program Updates Meet Faith - Support our Work Summer Accomplishments Announcing the National School Garden Network The Top Ten of Farm- and Garden-Based Education Garden Tips and Educator Resources [...]

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Branching Out for Food Justice – FoodWhat Benefit Dinner

Please Join Us! Learn more and register at www.foodwhat.org [...]

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Spring 2013 Newsletter

View The May 2013 Garden Times - Life Lab's Newsletter Program Updates What We Have Been Up To Since Our Last Newsletter Meet our Senior Program Associate - Amber Turpin and her baby Hazel Update on the California School Garden Training Program California Foo [...]

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Small Hands, Big Garden

Have you seen this insert in your local press?  Small Hands, Big Garden  highlights Life Lab's Book of Gardening Projects for Kids. A story created by national syndicator Content That Works for their Homestyle Magazine. [...]

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Educating the Educators

Educating the educators: Life Lab looks to introduce teachers to the merits of gardening, Santa Cruz Sentinel - April 13, 2013 [...]

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Day Camp Registration Open

Spring Break Camp for 4-6 year olds Wildlands & Watering Cans Summer Day Camp for 7-10 year olds Garden Sprouts Camp Summer Day Camp for 4-6 year olds Farm & Wilderness Summer Day Camp for 11-14 year olds More info. at www.lifelab.org/camp [...]

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Turning Teachers into Gardeners in Washington D.C.

Life Lab has been delighted to work with a very forward-thinking organization in the nation's capital, DC Greens, to train garden coordinators through their Growing Garden Teachers program. DC Greens' innovative approach to regional school garden support was recentl [...]

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December 2012 Life Lab Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our December 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Planting Fruits Trees and Vines in School Gardens Sustaining School Gardens - Funding Garden Coordinators Book Review: Our School Garden! Recipe: H [...]

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California FoodCorps

FoodCorps California, managed by Co-Host Sites Life Lab and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, has selected ten organizations to place twelve service corps members across the state in 2013-2014. Visit the California FoodCorps Page. www.facebook.com/Food [...]

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“Food, What?!” Youth Maya Salsedo is named as Brower Youth Awardee

We are pleased to share that Maya Salsedo, one of our first FoodWhat youth participants from 2007, was chosen from hundreds to receive the 2012 Brower Youth Awardees. Maya was selected for her work empowering youth with tools to advocate for a just food system. S [...]

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Summer 2012 Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our Summer 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Seed Saving Resources and Video Growing Questions - Inquiry in the Garden Teaching at a Farmer's Market Recipes: Zucchini Baba Ganoush and More Disc [...]

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Spring 2012 Newsletter

  View Newsletter View Archives     Garden Tips and Recipe Make a Human Sundial Edible Crop Planning Recipe - Kale Salad Program Updates The Book of Garden Projects for Kids Update on the California School Garden Training Progra [...]

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Bee-licious Days

The last two days at the Garden Classroom have been buzzing. Today we shook out two hives that came in via mail order. We initiated the observational hive and a normal hive. The day before a hive landed in a rosemary bush. Shaking in the Observation Hive [...]

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Spotlight on Life Lab’s Education Director

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 th [...]

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2012 ~ Family Gardening Book

Order Now View front and back cover [...]

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2012 Winter Newsletter

You don't want to miss our Winter 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Lessons Lesson - Six Seed Trail Mix Making Garden Signs - Tips and Photos Lesson Packet - Feeling Fine With Fresh Foods Recipe - Winter Squash Teacakes Program Updates 2011 Pr [...]

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Introducing the California School Garden Training Program

Life Lab, along with organizational partners from the UC Davis Childrens' Garden Program and the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego, will train 1,500 educators, volunteers, parents and school garden support professionals throughout the state of Californ [...]

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Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods Lesson Packet

Feeling Fine With Fresh Foods Lesson packet from our Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods Field Trip. Our winter field trip helps students make the important connection between their health and the foods they choose. Classes explore our Garden Classroom and the UCSC Farm [...]

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Things Haven’t Changed Much

In 1996 Life Lab was a 17 year old organization. Now at the ripe old age of 33 it is fun to look back at what we were sharing during our wild teen years.Perhaps one of the biggest changes that our organization has seen over the past few years is the launch of our websit [...]

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2011 Program Highlights

It has been another successful season of growth, learning and wonder for Life Lab and the thousands of kids, youth, families, teachers and schools we serve. Hear what our program participants had to say about our work in in our 2011 Highlights flier. 2011 by th [...]

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Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Selected for Good Times Community Fund

Our "Food, What?!" Youth Program was selected as one of four programs in the Good Times Community Fund. We have the goal to raise $12,500 through the Good Times Community Fund.  Right now, every dollar donated will be matched.  Please Consider a Year-End Donation t [...]

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Shared Adventures

Life Lab partnered with Shared Adventures, a local nonprofit which organizes recreation activities for people with special needs, to host an inclusive Farm-to-Fork Field Trip for 14 adults and 2 children from the special needs community. View the photos. Despite mobilit [...]

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2 days 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 week 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 week 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 weeks 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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3 weeks 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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4 weeks 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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1 month ago

Life Lab

In celebration of the Fall Equinox 🍁we are excited to share a poignant new film called Kiss the Ground Movie🌱Life Lab is honored to have partnered with Kiss the Ground to develop middle school curriculum and accompanying training video for educators, focused on the process of capturing and storing carbon in living organisms such as soil, plants and algae.🌿

This hopeful film showcases part of the solution to climate change that is right under our feet: biosequestration in the soil. Life Lab invites you to join a Global Watch Party for the film, followed by a live Q and A at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. For more info, go to Kiss the Ground Movie 🌍 #Lifelab #regenerativeagriculture #schoolgardens #soilhealth #earthactivist #climatechangesolutions See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

It’s World Gratitude Day! 💐Life Lab is grateful for our community and to continue our 40+ year mission of cultivating children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden based education🌱#life lab #schoolgardens #education #worldgratitudeday #gratitude See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Join us on October 10th at 10:30am for Life Lab’s Fall Benefit: A Celebration of Learning and Community.
Register at LifeLab.org/fall-benefit
This virtual event includes a tour of Life Lab’s evolving work and vision. Plus we have a surprise announcement! We are thankful for your encouragement and support as a member of our Life Lab community. Despite the challenges of this unprecedented year, Life Lab is moving forward with grace and creative innovation. The events of this season have provided opportunities to support our local community and national networks in new ways, expand our reach through virtual connections, and dive more deeply into justice and equity in all of our work. We are strengthening the roots that feed Life Lab programs as we continue to transform the Nature of Education. Continued cultivation of children’s love for learning and connections with healthy food and nature during COVID is essential and brings hope, wonder, and a much needed breath of fresh air. We are excited to share the inspiring work of our dedicated staff with you! #gratitude #schoolgardens #education #lifelab #fundraiser #gardens
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1 month ago

Life Lab

🚨Join us TODAY at 11am PST🚨

💚Bringing Social Emotional Learning and
Mindfulness Education to Your Work💚

Join Sheri S. Dollin, M.Ed., Educational Consultant and Mindfulness Facilitator, and Sunny Wight, Co-Founder of Mindfulness First, for an overview of mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the distance learning setting.

Together, we will look at how an understanding of trauma, mindfulness and SEL can help us to manage stress while nurturing the scientifically proven “protective factors” that help prevent and manage trauma and mental health issues both for ourselves and our students.

We will specifically learn about the brain science of stress, and practice mindfulness techniques you can teach to your students. We’ll also take a look at Mindfulness First’s synchronous and asynchronous online work, and quickly understand that it’s easier than we think to integrate mindfulness and SEL into online classrooms. Bring: something to draw with and a piece of paper, for Mindful Art.

For more information and to register click the link below
zoom.us/webinar/register/2015977037712/WN_JbIOXX6RQnCDaw6fNxbz2w 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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