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 Cara@lifelab.org 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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#tbt to that time two weeks ago we were at the School Garden Support Organization – SGSO – Network conference organized by Sprouts Farmers Market and Life Lab !Check out this cool recap video Jen put together – love how we’re #growingschoolgardens together!#veggiecatethefirststate #stemeducation #handsonlearning #schoolgardens #kidswhogarden

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3 weeks 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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3 weeks 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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3 weeks ago

Readers To Eaters

Thrilled that The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter is NC Farm Bureau "Ag in the Classroom" #BookOfTheMonth! Check out their terrific Activity Guide, including a few fun facts:• The honeybee is the state insect for North Carolina and 15 other states? • In North Carolina, bees help to pollinate strawberries, apples, and broccoli to name a few.bit.ly/3tE6nLASee this reading of author/illustrator Shabazz Larkin for PBS/ Thirteen WNET New York. bit.ly/32LQ0S0Good sharing for United Nations #WorldBeeDay on 5/20 and June #NationalPollinatorsMonth. ..#AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC #FarmToSchool #Bees #Pollinators #Pollination #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #DiverseBooks National Agriculture in the ClassroomAmerican Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureNCLA: North Carolina Library AssociationNC School Library Media AssociationState Library of North CarolinaASAP – Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture ProjectNational Farm to School Network The Bee Cause Project The Pollinator Partnership North Carolina State Beekeepers AssociationNC Beekeepers Forsyth County Beekeepers Association of N.C.Whole Kids Foundation Big Green FoodCorps Life LabThe Black Church Food Security Network The Brown Bookshelf Multicultural Children’s Book Day We Need Diverse Books

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4 weeks ago

Readers To Eaters

Happy #PoetryFriday, #NationalPoetryMonth & #NationalGardenMonth!Sharing #poem "Three Sisters" from Our School Garden!, winner of #GrowingGoodKidsBookAward from Junior Master Gardener Program and The American Horticultural Society bit.ly/1x8LrbK See Curriculum Matrix from National Agriculture in the Classroom, including more on Three Sisters Garden. bit.ly/3Lybfv1 ..#Poetry #ChildrensPoetry #FoodPoetry #FoodLiteracy #SchoolGarden #GardenEducation #FarmToSchool #STEM #STEAM #AITC #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy National Farm to School NetworkCalifornia Farm to School Massachusetts Farm to SchoolSouth Carolina Farm to School Clemson Extension School & Community GardeningIowa Agriculture Literacy FoundationNew York Agriculture in the ClassroomLife Lab Big Green Pilot Light Common Threads FarmWashington Ag in the Classroom Common Threads Farm Viva Farms Edible Schoolyard NYC Slow Food SeattleNational Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI)

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4 weeks ago

Readers To Eaters

"Colorful, stylized art and playful, accessible text… Inspiring and ‘kraut-chi-licious.’" So excited for our first review of Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild from Kirkus Reviews, just posted today! Full review below. Cheers to co-authors Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee for their followup to Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, part of the award winning "Food Heroes" series, and the illustration debut for artist Julie Wilson. Such a fun team to work with! Just like June Jo wrote in her Author’s Note on visiting Sandor’s fermentation school, "we were all transformed—livelier, funkier, and more wild." Bay Area friends can come to joint book event with Sandor signing FERMENTATION JOURNEYS and co-author June Jo Lee signing Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild at South Berkeley Farmers Market/Ecology Center, 5/31, 3-5pm. Sandor will also make pao-cai, a chinese style of fermenting vegetables in a spiced brine that is perpetually reused. bit.ly/3wmhifZKIRKUS REVIEW A biography of food-fermentation guru Sandor Katz.Colorful, stylized art and playful, accessible text draw in readers, beginning with the endpapers’ beautiful cabbages. First, Katz is shown in his world-renowned fermentation school in Walnut Ridge, Tennessee, where his kitchen lies inside a house with a “crickety-crockety porch.” Next, readers learn of his boyhood in New York City, where he grows up loving fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kosher dill pickles. As a young man, Katz watches friends dying of AIDS and then learns that he is HIV-positive. He decides that the best way to take better care of himself is to leave his beloved city and “join a community of queer folks” in rural Tennessee. When their farm is overpopulated with ready-to-harvest cabbage, Katz is inspired to try his hand at sauerkraut. Soon, he combines that recipe with Korean kimchi spices and creates something that he dubs “kraut-chi.” A dazzling double-page spread shows him and his living partners at table as they dub him “Sandorkraut.” Katz markets his product and eventually travels the world, teaching, learning, and writing about fermented foods. The simple instructions—“chop, salt, squeeze, pack, and wait”—become the foundation for an accessible, six-step recipe at the end. Fermentation definitions are deftly sprinkled throughout the pages. Inspiring and “kraut-chi-licious.” • Book info @ bit.ly/35X4frY• Friends @ #TXLA22 can see the book at Publisher Spotlight booth 2140. • SANDOR KATZ will be published this June. Look for June Jo signing at #ALA2020 in DC this June. Stay tuned for more info.• Look for the audiobook from Live Oak Media later this year! ..#FoodLiteracy #FoodHeroes #FoodCulture #Fermentation #NoHeatCooking #Microbes #TinyWild #LGBTQ+ #QueerCommunity #PictureBookBiography #FoodBiography #FoodWriterNational Farm to School Network National Agriculture in the Classroom Life Lab Big Green Slow Food USA Real Food Media The Edible Schoolyard Project Center for Ecoliteracy FoodCorps Pilot Light The Fermentation Association

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4 weeks ago

Stephen Ritz

STANDING OVATION! National Growing School Garden Summit! Thx School Garden Support Organization – SGSO – Network Sprouts Farmers Market Sprouts Foundation Life Lab Denver, Colorado Denver Public Schools This is what #community looks like. #schoolgarden #lettuce #turnip #beet

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Conference Day 3 photo dump!Jen attended the seminars That’s Tasty! Garden and Cafeteria Connections through Taste Tests and Building & Institutionalizing a Sustainable School Garden Program Incorporating Horticultural Science Curriculum, as well as lightning talks about Salad Bar Success, Top 10 Takeaways for Building your Vision, Urban Agroforestry, Amplifying Indigenous Culture in the Classroom, A Community School starting a garden in a pandemic, How to diversify your volunteers.The seminars Lydia attended included Speak Their Language: Easy Peas-y Impact Communications for Diverse Stakeholders and From the Ground Up: Three Perspectives on Building a Districtwide School Garden Program, as well as lightening talks on soil, holistic care in the garden, program evaluation and regenerative forests. Key takeaways include the importance of sharing collected data back to stakeholders and of having ‘mission moments’ at board and staff meetings. Favorite lines from today:"The importance of having control over our own food and a safe plate of food on our table." "The garden is a mirror.""Which weeds in our lives are using up resources and taking up space?""Great conversations happen in the garden.""Empowering students to become agents of change in their communities through science, peace and gardening."The evening concluded with a plant-based dinner-dance party where attendees made music with vegetables (see video!) and @djcaverm had the group shouting "kale life!"#veggiecatethefirststate #growingschoolgardens Life Lab Sprouts Farmers Market School Garden Support Organization – SGSO – Network

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Conference photo dump Day 2!The day started out with a group session where we wrote our best school garden tips on a piece of paper, turned them into paper airplanes and flew them across the room! A fun way to wake everyone up and get the day going!Sessions we attended included: Growing Garden Leaders, not Garden Weeders!, Our Garden Mocktail Mix: Teachers, Models & Advocacy, Use It or Lose It: Maintaining Long-term garden program and Growing our Youngest Gardeners: Garden Design and Creative Education. Some of our favorite quotes of the day are——"The next frontier is right beneath our feet.""Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.""Soil is the living skin of the earth.""Landscapes shape mind-scapes.""We are part of a movement that honors life."" We need to embrace growth-oriented discomfort"#veggiecatethefirststate #growingschoolgardensSprouts Farmers Market School Garden Support Organization – SGSO – Network Life Lab

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Stock up your Garden Classroom

Life Lab 40th
Life Lab’s 40th Gala – Sunday, October 13th  Celebrate 40 years of bringing learning to life in gardens. Learn more  
Life Lab's 40th Gala
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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