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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1 week 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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4 weeks 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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4 weeks 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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1 month 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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1 month 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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Magical seeds are being planted at Starlight Elementary in Watsonville that will blossom into a garden and teaching kitchen where students will learn, grow & thrive. Community Foundation staff was thrilled to visit the site last week, meet with partners, and learn more about the project (a recipient of a 2021 community grant. (Pictured from left to right: Judit Camacho, Jennifer Holm, Michelle Rodriguez, Hilary Bryant, Kevin Heuer, Jackie Medina, Don Burgett, Francisco Estrada, & Julie Edwards)with:Emeril Lagasse Foundation Life Lab Community Health Trust of Pajaro ValleyPajaro Valley Unified School District

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2 months ago

Readers To Eaters

Happy National Urban Beekeeping Day! See info on urban bees from Detroit Hives. Good day to share The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter. See author/illustrator Shabazz Larkin read the book for PBSThirteen WNET New York with wonderful message at the end on how to take care of bees, our environment, and ourselves! bit.ly/32LQ0S0..#nationalurbanbeekeepingday #urbanbees #beekeepers #beeeducation #savethebees #givebeesachance #pollinators #pollination #farmtoschool #agclassroom #agliteracy #AITC #summerlearning #summerreading National Agriculture in the ClassroomMichigan Agriculture in the Classroom New York Agriculture in the ClassroomWisconsin Ag in the Classroom ProgramEdible Schoolyard NYC The Edible Schoolyard Project Life Lab Big Green Common Threads Farm Slow Food USA School Garden Network

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3 months ago

Life Lab

¡Estamos emocionados de anunciar la versión en Español del curso GRATIS aclamado, Enseñando en el Aula de la Naturaleza! Conéctese con otros educadores y desarrolle nuevas estrategias y maneras de ver el aula al aire libre. Es una gran oportunidad tanto para educadores nuevos a la enseñanza al aire libre y educación basada en el jardín como para los más experimentados en esta práctica. Lea más y registrese aquí: wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network _________________________________We are excited to announce a Spanish language version of the acclaimed FREE course, Teaching in Nature’s Classroom! Connect with educators and develop new strategies and ways of seeing the outdoor classroom. A great opportunity for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field. Learn more and register here wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network

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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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