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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kids gardening sewing seeds


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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1 week ago

Readers To Eaters

Happy #NationalFarmersDay! We give thanks to all farmers for their work in bringing good food to our table. Share Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table on the urban farmer in starting a good food revolution. His inventive work using #vermicomposting, #aquaponics and #hydroponics won him a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" fellowship. bit.ly/3cA9Br6See National Agriculture in the Classroom curriculum matrix on FARMER WILL ALLEN. bit.ly/3q2WsxDWe’re thrilled that the book is the New York Agriculture in the Classroom Agriculture Literacy Book of 2022. bit.ly/3mOhPT5 ..#NationalFarmersDay #Farmers #UrbanFarmers #BlackFarmers #FarmerWillAllen #vermicomposting #aquaponics #hydroponics #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #FarmToSchool #FarmToSchoolMonth #DiverseBooks National Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureIowa Agriculture Literacy FoundationOregon Agriculture in the ClassroomCalifornia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC) Washington Ag in the Classroom Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom ProgramNational Farm to School Network FoodCorpsWhole Kids Foundation Center for Ecoliteracy Life Lab Green Bronx Machine

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2 weeks ago

Community Foundation Santa Cruz County

Thank you Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley for hosting the health fair last Friday! It was filled with families, fun, and resources! We are grateful to you and all the nonprofit partners there for your work in helping our community stay healthy and thriving.With Positive Discipline Community ResourcesLife Lab Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance Regeneration-Pájaro Valley Climate Action

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1 month ago

Readers To Eaters

Great opportunity for young beekeepers! 🐝🐝 Check out Bee Grant from Whole Kids Foundation in partnership with The Bee Cause Project.Both WKF and BCP have been wonderful partners in promoting bee education and food literacy. See• WFK "World of Honey Bees," wonderful resource including Bee Activity Box featuring The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter. bit.ly/3h5SEb4• BCP Q&A with BEE author/illustrator Shabazz Larkin on #creativity #mindfulness & how we can take steps to care for the earth. bit.ly/3AoptJmGreat sharing for September #FoodLiteracyMonth and October National #FarmToSchoolMonth! ..#Bees #Pollinators #BeeEducation #BeeGarden #SaveTheBees #GiveBeesAChance #SchoolGarden #GardenEducation #OutdoorEducation #EnvironmentalEducation #ClimateEducation #FarmToSchool #AITC #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #ScienceEducation #STEM #STEAM #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation National Farm to School NetworkNational Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureJunior Master Gardener ProgramThe American Horticultural Society FoodCorps Common Threads Farm Center for Ecoliteracy Life LabThe Edible Schoolyard Project Edible Schoolyard NYCBzzt! Bee grant applications are now open! If you are interested in receiving an educational beehive or support for bee programming at your school or organization, apply for our bee grant in partnership with The Bee Cause Project. Learn more and register for our 9/15 webinar at: bit.ly/3DDfkL3

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2 months ago

Save Our Shores

Annual Coastal Cleanup is just around the corner and we are still looking for site captains for 7 of our region’s sites. This is a tremendous opportunity to join the region’s biggest annual volunteer effort to help protect our life-giving waters! For teens who are willing to partner with a parent or guardian, it’s also a fabulous way to practice leadership skills while earning community service credits!Ready to join us as a site captain? Sign up at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfEoLUWDzybzQ_iUyKQhCetuywE8eKlnmZSi6neKIjdBHLSgQ/viewformWant to volunteer on Sept 18? Sign up at docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdrSlrMTFOR7PBuGjwmSxx0DItsoctuloI5EI7eisRx8H6jw/viewformFriends of Santa Cruz State Parks Santa Cruz County Bank KindPeoples California State Parks Foundation California State Parks Kayak Connection Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center – Unofficial Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Monterey Bay Aquarium FishWise Seafood Watch Surfrider Foundation Santa Cruz Chapter The Bird School Project Life Lab Santa Cruz County Office of Education City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Lookout Santa Cruz County of Santa Cruz Aqua Safaris Scuba Center Live Like Coco Good Times Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Sentinel KAZU 90.3 Return of the Natives Restoration Education Project Santa Cruz State Junior Lifeguards

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2 months ago

Life Lab

🌱 We only have 2 spots left in our School Garden Educator Certification Program! 🌱 Sign-up today for the entire series of courses on our website. Our first course, Building Connections in the Garden, starts with asynchronous work on September 1st and our first synchronous session will be on Wednesday, September 8th from 3:30 – 5:00 PST. You may continue to sign up through August 31st or until all spots are filled. Upon 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 approximately 4 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model tailored to each individual’s needs.lifelab.org/educator-certification-program/💚 We look forward to working with you!💚

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2 months ago

Nikki Patterson

Beautiful way to end this spontaneous day. Thank you Don💐 Thank you Life Lab Thank you UCSC CASFS Farm and Thank you Matthew Raiford#grateful #Interconnections #bressnnyam #blackfarmers #heritagefarm #yeschef #Badass #organicgardening @bookshopsc ❤️

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2 months ago

Philip Lee

Good read during summer zucchini season! See Booklist review of LAS CALABACITAS DE ZORA, translated from Zora’s Zucchini: "By story’s end, Zora has learned the importance of growing, harvesting, and, above all, sharing food. [Anna] Raff’s appealing watercolor illustrations are soft and inviting, and an author’s note explains the ‘Donate, Preserve, Share’ concepts behind growing gardens. The translation’s well-chosen Spanish is simple to read aloud in a classroom or storytelling setting." bit.ly/3jWFZcGWe’re thrilled that LAS CALABACITAS DE ZORA audiobook is out this spring from Live Oak Media!Come hear author Katherine Pryor discuss ZORA and connecting food & literacy, on Big Green‘s webinar, along with Marie Dennan, BG’s Memphis program manager, and Micheál Newman-Brooks, program manager of school gardens with Chicago Public Schools. 8/18 @ 1PM ET / 10AM PT. Free register@ bit.ly/2XuQsV3Get zucchini recipes, food swap ideas@ bit.ly/3xx996Z..#SpanishChildrensBooks #Zucchini #SummerReading #SummerGardening #KidsGardening #SchoolGarden #BackToSchool #GardenEducation #FoodSwap #FoodWaste #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITCThe Edible Schoolyard Project Edible Schoolyard NYCSlow Food USA School Garden Network Green Bronx Machine Life Lab Common Threads Farm Center for Ecoliteracy

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2 months ago

Philip Lee

See Our School Garden! author Rick Swann present on connecting school garden & literacy on 8/10, last of the Food Literacy Summer Author Series from Clemson Extension School & Community Gardening and South Carolina Farm to School Also presenting will be Tracy Miskelly at SC Ag in the Classroom. Register at bit.ly/3C2WjkyRick is a former Seattle school librarian. His work researching on creating a garden for his school led to his poems for OUR SCHOOL GARDEN! See discussion guides on OUR SCHOOL GARDEN from The Bee Cause Project Book Club. bit.ly/3rU2D7URead more about the Summer Author seriest: "Clemson Extension launches author series aimed at improving food literacy for SC youth." bit.ly/2Vlzc3A..#Poetry #FoodPoetry #FoundPoem #SchoolGarden #GardenEducation #SummerReading #SummerLearning #FarmToSchool #AgClassroomJunior Master Gardener ProgramSlow Food USA School Garden Network Common Threads Farm Life Lab FoodCorps

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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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Call for Sessions

First-Ever National School Garden Conference

Call for Session Presenters Due November 4th

Hosted by the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation in partnership with Life Lab and the School Garden Support Organization Network.