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 f [...]

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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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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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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. Whilst most families love spending the summer break on vacation and traveling the world in the utmost luxury, such as [...]

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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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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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Life Lab’s Online Auction

Going Once, Going Twice.... Sold to Support Life Lab Programs! Life Lab's Online Auction Closed on November 20th. Thanks to those who supported us. www.lifelab.org/auction 60+ unique experiences and products to browse! Get a jump on your holiday [...]

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

Building on Life Lab’s 40 years of experience in the school garden movement, we’ve updated and put together a series of 4 virtual courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. 🌳At Life Lab, we believe the world needs informed, inspired, creative, and collaborative leaders, ready with the skills and the motivation they need to work for justice, sustainability, and healthy communities. And we believe that the garden is an ideal space for growing just such leaders! Now, more than ever, we need dedicated educators to lead children in cultivating a love of learning, healthy food and connection to our natural world through garden-based education. 🐝Your support makes this work possible 💚 – thank you for being a part of the Life Lab community and broader school garden movement! If you have already donated to Life Lab recently, thank you! If you haven’t yet given this year, please help us keep all of this vital work going and growing by donating now. Gifts of any size are deeply appreciated and have real impacts.www.lifelab.org/donate

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

🌻 🔬 Next Generation Science in the Garden 🔬🌻 “I’m a Scientist!” exclaim students in the garden, empowered by Life Lab’s inquiry-led approach to science education. A garden is rich with teachable moments inviting observant students to experience foundational life and natural science concepts. As birds fly overhead, plants fruit or bloom or hibernate, decomposers make dirt; students learn science by observation and experience, having fun and gaining deeper academic knowledge. Life Lab’s Next Generation Science in the Garden (NGSG) curriculum is developed by teachers, piloted by garden educators and a wonderful tool for connecting academic curriculum to robust garden environments.Your support makes this work possible – thank you for being a part of the Life Lab community and broader school garden movement! NGSG Curriculum is available now! ow.ly/ATOW50HhQb4

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Thank you for supporting hands-on learning and well-being for all children and being part of the growing school garden movement! We appreciate your partnership and wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season.

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I’ve been a teacher educator for 15 years. I started with literacy methods, then migrated to science, but what I most love to teach is garden pedagogy. Thanks to @ucmastergardenersnapaco I was able to bring lessons I learned from @ucdstudentfarm Life Lab and @beetlesproject to Napa. From 2013-2017 the #SchoolGardenTaskForce hosted several workshops aimed at increasing the horticultural knowledge of garden educators. I found a community of like-minded folks to connect with in California. #communityconnection #gardenbasedlearning #learningfromthebest

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2 months ago

Readers To Eaters

#GoodReads in Spanish, incldng LAS CALABACITAS DE ZORA, translatd from Zora’s Zucchini.Also see ESPINACAS DE SYLVIA, translated from Sylvia’s Spinach, a 2020 selection.See full lists from 2019-2021: bit.ly/3rkZa5nBoth SYLVIA and ZORA, in English & Spanish, are available in #audiobooks from Live Oak Media. ..#SpanishChildrensBooks #DiverseBooks #FoodLiteracy REFORMA Reforma Los Angeles ChapterNational Association for Bilingual EducationCABE California Association for Bilingual EducationThe National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) California Association for the Education of Young ChildrenViva Farms Big Green Life Lab Common Threads Farm The Children’s Book Council ALSC – The Association for Library Service to ChildrenThe Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DCOur ’22 Best Spanish Language Picture book list comes out in January. For now, enjoy ’21 @CuentoDeLuz @charlesbridge @reforma @ALALibrary @Candlewick @kokila @BarefootBooks @ReadersToEatersbankstedu.info/3D3NBl3

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Our partners, Life Lab, are hiring to work with #PVUSD students. Check it out!Nuestros socios, Life Lab, están contratando para trabajar con estudiantes de #PVUSD. ¡Échale un vistazo!lifelab.org/about/internships/jobs/Life Lab PVUSD Parents

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2 months ago

Readers To Eaters

Happy National Homemade Bread Day! November is also National Bread Month. Share Bread Lab on the science and joy of whole wheat sourdough breadmaking. bit.ly/2VQjVo7"This engaging picture book about the science and joy of making bread is named for Washington State University’s influential BreadLab and co-written by its managing director, Kim Binczewski, and agricultural scientist Bethany Econopouly. Illustrated lovingly by Hayelin Choi, this book should inspire folks of all ages to explore the world of sourdough baking."Eater SeattleSee video with Kim introducing the book and her work at the WSU Breadlab. bit.ly/3r9RIqz..#NationalHomemadeBreadDay #HomemadeBread #Bread #WholeGrain #WholeWheat #Sourdough #SourdoughStarter #Fermenation #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #ScienceEducation #FoodScience #PlantScience #SoilScience #Farming #CulinaryEducation #KidsCooking #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC The Bread Bakers Guild of AmericaNational Agriculture in the Classroom American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Whole Kids Foundation Pilot Light FoodCorps Life Lab Big Green Washington Ag in the Classroom California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC) California Farm to School Edible Schoolyard NYC The Edible Schoolyard Project Center for Ecoliteracy

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3 months ago

Kirby School

Another wonderful Community Involvement day is in the books!Some of the activities students participated in to serve our community today:* Learned and practiced land stewardship (improve biodiversity, revegetation, weed removal)* Food preparation and distribution* Resource conservation* Home construction for low income families* Care and clean up of our community’s shared spacesThank you to these amazing local organizations and groups for their continued work to better our world through the lens of environmental advocacy and social justice: Coastal Watershed CouncilSave Our ShoresHomeless Garden ProjectEvergreen CemeterySan Lorenzo Valley Native Habitat Restoration ProgramGrey BearsLife LabSecond Harvest Food Bank Santa CruzHabitat for Humanity Monterey BayReStore Santa Cruz Home Improvement Store & Donation Centerwww.facebook.com/groups/SantaCruzFoodNotBombsSanta Cruz Museum of Natural HistoryCity of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation

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3 months ago

Readers To Eaters

Happy National STEM Day! #GoodFoodReads for #stemeducation: The Thing About Bees: A Love LetterFarmer Will Allen and the Growing TableBread LabBook info @ bit.ly/xoWr0H Find CurriculumMatrix for these titles @ National Agriculture in the Classroom bit.ly/3H0J9H4 ..#NationalSTEMDay #STEM #STEAM #stemeducation #scienceeducation #gardeneducation #environmentaleducation #MakerEducation #farmtoschool #agclassroom #agliteracy #AITC #FoodLiteracy #naeycAC The Alliance for a Healthier GenerationNational Science Teaching AssociationWSTA-Washington Science Teachers AssociationCalifornia Farm to School National Farm to School Network FoodCorps Big Green Life Lab Edible Schoolyard NYC The Edible Schoolyard Project Green Bronx Machine

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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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