Life Lab

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

Life Lab offers garden-based field trips for preschool through middle school students in the Garden Classroom on the UCSC CASFS Farm.

Seeds of Wonder Preschool & Kindergarten Field Trips take place on Wednesdays, April-June and October-November.

Spring Science Exploration Field Trips for 1st-4th grades. Mondays & Tuesdays, mid-April through mid-June.

Fall Farm to Fork Field Trips for 1st grade – middle school. Mondays & Tuesdays, September through mid-November.

Winter Feeling Fine with Fresh Food Nutrition Field Trips for 3rd-5th grades. Tuesdays, January-March.

Garden Classroom Field Trip Reservation Info

View field trip visitor information (confirmation materials, parking information, daily agenda)

Seeds of Wonder Preschool & Kindergarten Field Trips: A Hands-on Exploration of the Garden Classroom

This 90 minute seasonal program is geared toward 3 1/2 – 6 year olds. Programs focus on hands-on exploration of the garden, songs, stories, and opportunities for discovery.

Fall Program
  • Visit our vegetable garden to harvest and eat garden treats
  • Collect leaves, make leaf prints, and celebrate the falling leaves
  • Visit our pumpkin patch, read a pumpkin story and taste pumpkin seeds
  • Meet our friendly hens, find out what they do for us in the garden and peek into their nesting boxes to search for eggs
  • Classes take home post-visit activity ideas for teachers
Spring Program
  • A soil discovery station, where students use their senses to explore a variety of soils and search for worms in the soil
  • A seed sorting and planting station, where students investigate garden seeds and plant seeds in root view cups to bring back to the classroom
  • A visit with our friendly hens, along with a discussion of what they do for us in the garden and peek in the nest boxes to search for eggs
  • An exploration of our garden wildlife, to find insects, lizards, and birds that make their home in the garden
  • Classes take home post-visit activity ideas for teachers and root view seed cups for classroom observation

Wednesdays, 9:00-10:30, $100/class (payment required 3 weeks in advance of field trip date), one class maximum per visit (20-30 students), $4 per car parking fee, scholarships available.

Click here for field trip registration info.

Spring Science Exploration Field Trips

For 1st through 4th graders. We are in the process of bringing our Spring Science Exploration field trips in line with NGSS, and some content is still being developed. Please contact with any questions. Thanks!

All programs include:
  • Garden-based science exploration stations
  • A hands-on exploration of the UCSC Farm
  • Visiting with our chickens and observational bee hive

Pondering Plants – Grade 1 Come explore the garden and discover how different types of roots and leaves help the plant grow and survive.

Garden Pollinators – Grade 2 Birds, butterflies, and other creatures are essential visitors to the garden. Come explore the relationships between plants and pollinators and learn how they depend on each other.

Life Cycles in the Garden – Grade 3 Come investigate life cycles in the garden, where we can find plants and animals in all ages & stages! From seed to sunflower, egg to butterfly and back again, we’ll look into how life cycles work.

Fabulous Functions – Grade 4 Dig into photosynthesis, plant and animal parts and how they help these living things survive.

Field Trips are available Mondays & Tuesdays, mid-April through early June. Field trips begin at 10 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. $180/class (payment required 3 weeks advance of field trip date), 1 class maximum per visit (20-30 students), $4 per car parking fee, Scholarships available. Click here for field trip registration info.

Fall Farm to Fork Field Trips

For 1st grade through middle school students. This program helps students to make the important connection between farms and the food on their dinner table. All participating teachers will receive pre- and post-visit lessons related to our local food system.

Farm to Fork Field Trips include:

Hands-on Exploration of the 25-acre UCSC Farm

  • Explore a organic flower and vegetable farm
  • Harvest and sample the six plant parts—roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits & seeds
  • Participate in apple investigations and tastings in the orchard
  • Gain an appreciation for the different varieties & uses of corn

Activities in the Garden Classroom

  • Harvest celebration, where students make and taste corn tortillas & apple cider
  • Visiting chickens, honey bees, composting worms, and other garden learning sites

Field Trips are available Mondays & Tuesdays, early October through mid-November.

Field trips begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 1:15 p.m.

$180/class (payment required 3 weeks advance of field trip date), One class maximum per visit (20-30 students), $4 per car parking fee, Scholarships available. Click here for field trip registration info.

Winter Feeling Fine with Fresh Food Nutrition & Cooking Field Trips For Third, Fourth & Fifth Graders

For third, fourth, and fifth grade students. This program helps students to make the important connection between their health and the foods they choose. The activities prepare students to make informed decisions about what they eat. All participating teachers receive a packet of pre- and post-visit lessons to extend the learning into the classroom.

Field Trips Include:

Nutrition Activities in the Garden Classroom

  • Find out how eating a rainbow of fruits & vegetables keeps our body systems working
  • Learn how to create a balanced meal or snack
  • Harvest and cook “Stone Soup” and enjoy it with your lunch

Hands-on Exploration of the 25 acre UCSC Farm

  • Explore an organic vegetable and flower farm
  • Discuss the seasonality of food
  • Learn about the value of eating fresh and local

Field Trips Available: Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., January through March. $180/class (payment required 3 weeks advance of field trip date), One class maximum per visit (20-30 students), $4 per car parking fee, Scholarships available. Click here for field trip registration info.

Field trips take place rain or shine. Ponchos and covered areas available.

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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, 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! 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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7 days 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: 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

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 🌱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

Visit 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 See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks 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
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 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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