Life Lab

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

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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2012 ~ Family Gardening Book

Order Now View front and back cover [...]

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2011 ~ City of Santa Cruz Declares May 1, 20ll “Garden Classroom Day”

Santa Cruz City Council Member David Terrazas surprised us all at our May Day Benefit Brunch by declaring the day Garden Classroom Day in the City of Santa Cruz. The resolution was officially proclaimed at the May 10 city council meeting. View the Mayor's Proclamation [...]

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Life Lab’s Oral History

Life Lab’s Oral History

Four key figures in Life Lab's history have been documented as part of UCSC's Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History Series on Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming on California's Central Coast.   This oral history project conducted by the Regional Oral Hi [...]

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30th Anniversary Year In Review

30th Anniversary Year In Review

Our 30th year of brining learning to life in a garden was celebrated with many special events. Thanks to all who celebrated with us. Our School Garden Video Contest had 18 entries, see the winner here. Birthday Essay Series: The Garden: A Master Teacher was wri [...]

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2009 ~ Life Lab Turns 30

For 30 years Life Lab Science Program has been helping students and educators "Watch learning come to life in a garden". Life Lab has trained tens of thousands of educators in over 40 states. We have directly served over 35,000 students in garden-based science, n [...]

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2007 ~ Food, What?! ~ A Youth Empowerment Program

From the early days of the Garden Classroom there were always visions of offering programming for teens. We focus on teaching young adults and children about where there food comes from and how to eat a balanced and nutritional diet. As we do this, we hope to fo [...]

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2007 ~ The Growing Classroom New Edition!

This new edition of The Growing Classroom is pulished by our friends at the National Gardening Association and help to bring a fresh look and needed revisions to one of the be garden-based learning publications in print. [...]

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CDE Regional Garden Education Center

2006 ~ Garden Classroom Selected as CDE Regional Training Center

In collaboration with the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems the Garden Classroom is selected to serve as the Central Coast Garden-Based Learning Resource Center. The resource center provides free workshops and consulting to school garden programs [...]

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Life Lab in the News 2005-2007

View press from the Salinas Californian, Watsonville Register - Pajaronian, and more. Press 2005-2007 Click album to view and zoom articles. [...]

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Life Lab in the News 2000-2004

Press 2000-2004 Click to view and zoom articles [...]

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Life Lab Garden Store

2001 ~ Field to Market to You

New Leaf Community Markets and Life Lab team up to create a new program called Field-To-Market-To-You. For three years this food systems education program visited classrooms and followed up with a field trip to a grocery store. Students learned about local agricultural [...]

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Garden Classroom 2007

2000 ~ The Garden Classroom: Life Lab’s Model Educational Garden

In 2000 construction begins for the latest chapter in Life Lab's history. In collaboration with the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) The Garden Classroom annually serves thousands of pre-schoolers through adults in garden-based learning a [...]

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2000 ~ The Monterey Bay Science Project

The National Science Foundation Grant which funded the Language Acquisition in Science Education at Rural Schools comes to and end but LASERS continues to thrive through the Monterey Bay Science Project (MBSP). Life Lab becomes a MBSP host site and receives funding thro [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1995-1999

View press from the San Francisco Chronicle, Monterey Herald. Santa Cruz Sentinel, San Jose Mercury, and more. Press 1995-1999 Click to view and zoom articles. [...]

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Garden in Every School

1997 ~ A Garden in Every School

Delaine Eastin the Superintendent of Public Instruction of California Schools declares there should be a garden in every school. Life Lab attends the Garden in Every School Conference. Life Lab writes Getting Started: A Guide for Creating School Gardens which is publ [...]

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1997 ~ Resource Conservation Program – Waste Free Schools

Life Lab teams up with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, the County of Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz, Waste Management and Ecology Action to create the Resource Conservation Project (later known as Waste Free Schools). Life Lab works with students, teac [...]

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1995 ~ LASERS

The National Science Foundation funds Life Lab, from 1995-2001 in the Language Acquisition in Science Education at Rural Schools (LASERS) project. Life Lab starts working with 7 school districts to improve science teaching practices for second language learners. UCSC pa [...]

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4th Grade LLS

1994 ~ 4th-5th Grade Science Curriculum

Videodiscovery publishes 4th and 5th grade Life Lab Science Curriculum. [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1990-1994

View press from the Columbus Dispatch, Santa Cruz Sentinel, and more. Press 1990-1994   Click to view and zoom articles.   [...]

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1992 ~ Life Lab Science Curriculum

Videodiscovery publishes Kindergarten - Third grade science curriculum. This curriculum is disseminated throughout the country training 10s of thousands of educators. < --Life Lab Science Laser Disc Cover [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1985-1989

View press from USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Modesto Bee, and more. Press 1985-1989 Click to view and zoom all 29 articles. [...]

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Life Lab Across the USA

1987 ~ Great Expansion

Going Nationwide and Beyond The United States Department of Education funds Life Lab to disseminate throughout the nation from 1987-1992! The project called the National Diffusion Network sends Life Lab Staff to 38 states Guam and Costa Rica. National Science Founda [...]

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1986 ~ Life Lab Video

The following 14 minute video is a great summary of the impact that Life Lab Science Program has on schools. The power of school gardens has not changed much since 1986, but you will notice that hairstyles and clothing do! Are you one of the people in this video? Add a [...]

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1986 ~ The Growing Classroom Goes National

Addison-Wesley and Life Lab enter into a publishing agreement. The Growing Classroom is promoted and sold across the country. [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1979-1984

Press 1979-1984 Click to view and zoom articles [...]

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1984 ~ Statewide Dissemintation

The California Department of Education funds statewide dissemination of garden-based learning to 10 schools. Friends of the Harvest moves to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and officially changes names to Life Lab Science Program.   [...]

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1982 ~ The Growing Classroom: Garden-Based Science and Nutrition Curriculum

Life Lab self publishes the first version of The Growing Classroom Activity Guide and creates workshops which are conducted for 10 schools in Santa Cruz County. Life Lab garners its first science award, The WSTA Center of Excellence. Staff start attending regional a [...]

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1979 ~ Life Lab Becomes a Non-Profit

Originally Life Lab was called Friends of the Harvest, a non-profit formed to support community programming. Around this time Gary Appel, co-founder of Life Lab was hired with Title IV C grant funding. An excerpt from the oral history of Robbie Jaffe: He [Gary] cam [...]

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1978 ~ Green Acres School – Life Lab Blossoms

  Early days at Green Acres Green Acres in 1978 and 1982 Life Lab project started at Green Acres School in Live Oak, California in 1978. Life Lab teachers transform a vacant lot into a thriving garden. They start developing curriculum ba [...]

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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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