Life Lab

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

School Garden Program Sustainability


Why do some school gardens take root and become well-established, while others struggle? In this course, we will discuss key elements of building a strong school garden culture. Together, we’ll explore different, sustainable school garden program models; planning tools to align year-round garden activities with academic and garden care goals; methods for assessing garden programs; and strategies for increasing funding.


Graduate education units available.


Opens Sept 7th and Closes November 5th

Live Sessions:  Thursdays 3:30 – 5:00 PST

Sept 16th, Sept 30th, October 14, October 28


  • Garden design elements to maximize engagement and minimize effort 
  • Program and planning integration including seasonal crop planning and classroom integration
  • Resources and support for funding to create resilient garden programs
  • Measuring and sharing impact for all stakeholders


  • Four (4)  90-minute synchronous virtual sessions that include discussions, sharing of resources, hands-on demonstration lessons, and community building.
  • Asynchronous content that can be completed on your own time 
  • A one-on-one personalized coaching session that includes specific feedback catered to your needs. 
  • Relevant resources in digital format
  • A copy of The Growing Classroom 
  • Free Seeds!


 K-6 classroom teachers, garden educators, organizations interested in supporting garden-based learning on small and large scales.


24 participants



  • Complete all 4 courses in the series: 
    • Building Connections in the Garden
    • The Garden as a Classroom
    • Plant to Plate
    • School Garden Program Sustainability
  • Demonstrate positive and effective instruction in the coaching session for each course 
  • Attend all synchronous sessions in each course (4 per course)
  • Complete a final reflection on the Life Lab approach to garden-based education, and how it applies to your work and community after all 4 courses have been completed.

Ideally participants complete the series of courses over 1 year.  However, if there are extenuating circumstances participants can become certified if they take all required courses within 2 years.  The next set of courses will begin again in the fall of 2021 

  • People who have taken a previous in-person Life Lab workshop within the last 3 years can count that workshop towards the certification. Workshops that transfer to the certification program:
    • Plant to Plate workshop → Plant to Plate Course
    • School Garden Program Sustainability workshop → School Garden Program Sustainability Course
    • The Growing Classroom → The Garden as a Classroom Course
  • If you are interested in earning the full certification and want to use your completion of a previous workshop towards the certification, please contact Nicole at for more information on how to register.

Upon successful completion of each course, 2 University of the Pacific graduate education credits can be earned for an additional fee of $80 per credit hour, payable to University of the Pacific.  Most people seeking these credits are educators who are looking to increase their salary on a credit-based pay scale or for relicensure credit.  Most institutions do not accept UofP credits towards a specific graduate degree however, if there is a specific program you intend to pursue, it may be worth checking with that institution.

Life Lab offers a limited number of course fee reductions based on need and anticipated impact. To apply for financial assistance click FinancialAssistanceApp. If you are a Santa Cruz County Educator, we also offer a significant discount. Please email or call (831) 400-2016 for details. 

We understand that plans can change.  Should you wish to cancel your registration, please submit, in writing, your cancellation to  Your registration fee will be refunded, less a $50 administrative fee.  Regretfully, we will not be able to refund any fees if cancellation is made within 1 week of the opening course date except, of course, in cases of illness or emergency.

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