Life Lab

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

40 Years of Growth: Growing a Career in Garden Education

40 Years of Growth: Growing a Career in Garden Education

Growing a Career in Garden Education   Elena Steger, a recent UC Santa Cruz graduate and intern at Life Lab, is on a journey to pursue her calling.   In high school, “environmental studies” was the “one class that didn’t feel like work” she [...]

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A New Kind of Leadership and Shared Vision for Life Lab  

A New Kind of Leadership and Shared Vision for Life Lab  

A New Kind of Leadership and Shared Vision for Life Lab   Amid the beauty of summer on the farm and the wonderful energy of our camp kids here, there was a different and very special Moment in July that we're excited to share with you. On July 8th, Judit Camacho jo [...]

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kids in the garden

Watsonville School Garden Crew – Spring 2017

June 7th - Hall District School Flower Planting and Irrigation Installation Today we planted flowers with first graders and continued irrigaiton installation May 31 - Hall District School Irrigation Installation / Popcorn and Dry Bean Planting Today we [...]

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Watsonville School Garden Crew – Winter 2017

See what we are up to with our Winter 2017 Watsonville School Garden Crew March 8 - Radcliffe School Garden Clean Up and Redesign Today we repaired some garden beds, moved and filled garden beds to sunnier spots of the garden, and set up an outdoor seating area. [...]

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Whitney Cohen

Whitney Cohen on Garden Based Education – An Urban Farm U Podcast

Whitney Cohen on Garden Based Education Examining school garden support organizations to promote natural world learning. Whitney is a teacher, trainer, and author with tremendous commitment to, and expertise in, inquiry- and place-based education; strategies for en [...]

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kids in the garden with chicken

Intern with Life Lab

Come work with kids in a garden setting. We have placements year round at our Garden Classroom Site on the UCSC Farm or in Watsonville at our Blooming Classroom Site. Additionally our School Garden Corps program places interns to work at school gardens and provides trai [...]

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See Our New Blooming Classroom Site

Learn more about our work in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District at www.lifelab.org/pajaro. [...]

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2014 Summer Camp Highlights!

View Photos from the 2014 Camp Season Aahhh, summer.... there's no shortage of things to do while the days are long and temperatures are soaring. Whilst most families love spending the summer break on vacation and traveling the world in the utmost luxury, such as [...]

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changing the nature education

We’re Changing the Nature of Education

View Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen's inspiring description of how Life Lab is changing the nature of education to the audience of our 2014 Benefit Brunch. Please consider supporting Life Lab's work. Make a donation today.     For th [...]

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1,700+ Educators Trained in California School Garden Training Program

The California School Garden Training Program (CSGT) trained 1,729 educators from 2012- June, 2014. It includes workshops on Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) and Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (GENE). CSGT also conducts Train-the-Trainer Works [...]

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The Danes Are Here

The Danes Are Here

We have been having a great time showing visitors from Denmark some of the best farm to school and school garden programs in the region. The Danish study tour group, organized by Life Lab, is composed of eighteen government ministers, university faculty and graduate stu [...]

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Branching Out for Food Justice – FoodWhat Benefit Dinner

Branching Out for Food Justice – FoodWhat Benefit Dinner

Please Join Us! Learn more and register at www.foodwhat.org [...]

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Spring 2013 Newsletter

Spring 2013 Newsletter

View The May 2013 Garden Times - Life Lab's Newsletter Program Updates What We Have Been Up To Since Our Last Newsletter Meet our Senior Program Associate - Amber Turpin and her baby Hazel Update on the California School Garden Training Program California Foo [...]

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December 2012 Life Lab Newsletter

December 2012 Life Lab Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our December 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Planting Fruits Trees and Vines in School Gardens Sustaining School Gardens - Funding Garden Coordinators Book Review: Our School Garden! Recipe: H [...]

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“Food, What?!” Youth Maya Salsedo is named as Brower Youth Awardee

“Food, What?!” Youth Maya Salsedo is named as Brower Youth Awardee

We are pleased to share that Maya Salsedo, one of our first FoodWhat youth participants from 2007, was chosen from hundreds to receive the 2012 Brower Youth Awardees. Maya was selected for her work empowering youth with tools to advocate for a just food system. S [...]

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2011 Program Highlights

2011 Program Highlights

It has been another successful season of growth, learning and wonder for Life Lab and the thousands of kids, youth, families, teachers and schools we serve. Hear what our program participants had to say about our work in in our 2011 Highlights flier. 2011 by th [...]

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Shared Adventures

Shared Adventures

Life Lab partnered with Shared Adventures, a local nonprofit which organizes recreation activities for people with special needs, to host an inclusive Farm-to-Fork Field Trip for 14 adults and 2 children from the special needs community. View the photos. Despite mobilit [...]

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My 3,436 Mile Journey to Life Lab – Reflections from Intern Callia Wolfe

My 3,436 Mile Journey to Life Lab – Reflections from Intern Callia Wolfe

It is not often that we have graduate level interns, who have classroom experience, and are proficient with a video camera and editing. We lucked out! Callia Wolfe shares a bit about her path to finding us and her experience at the Garden Classroom. Callia writes.... [...]

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Meet Our Chickens

Meet Our Chickens

The hardest working staff at the Garden Classroom are our hens. Us humans go home at the end of the day and these girls, and one boy, watch over the garden 24/7, 365 days a year. Here is the most recent bio page that we have on display at their coop and the photo alb [...]

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Our Vision in Action

Our Vision in Action

When we started planning the Garden Classroom, a bit over ten years ago, we envisioned days like this one. We have many days like this throughout the year, but on May 20th I kept my camera on hand as I worked with a group of community leaders from Mexico and Central Ame [...]

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Santa Cruz Weekly ~ “Food, What?!” Strawberry Blast Serves Hundreds of Teens

Santa Cruz Weekly ~ “Food, What?!” Strawberry Blast Serves Hundreds of Teens

The Life Lab Garden Classroom and UCSC Farm played host to hundreds of Santa Cruz Teens during the "Food, What?!" Strawberry Blast. The local press was there to cover the event: Santa Cruz Weekly Strawberry Blast An Eye-Opener for Students had this to say: Hosted by [...]

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The Eddy ~ “Food, What?!” Wins Eddy Award

The Eddy ~ “Food, What?!” Wins Eddy Award

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation's Eddy Wellness Award was presented to Food, What on May 3, 2011. The Eddy Awards recognize excellence in education. Congrats to our five year old program that has gone from serving 5 kids in 2007 to 54 students this year! “We beli [...]

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Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Director Honored with a Nextie Award

Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Director Honored with a Nextie Award

Santa Cruz NEXT is committed to providing a fun, hip and diverse environment to discuss issues affecting the next generation of our community. They highlight and promote access to and development of economic, social and cultural opportunities, and are a catalyst for con [...]

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Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Youth Able John Highlighted

Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Youth Able John Highlighted

In the December 15th cover story "Smells Like Teen Spirit" of the GoodTimes, Food, What youth participant Able John was highlighted along with 5 other inspiring youth. Able states: “I remember being really small and not liking vegetables very much, but maybe I didn [...]

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Good Times ~ From Field to Able – “Food, What?!” Youth Program

Good Times ~ From Field to Able – “Food, What?!” Youth Program

A nice article from The GoodTimes 11.2.2010 The Youth Crew at Food, What?! mixes farming-based curriculum with personal, business, community and networking skills Since 1979 Santa Cruz’s nonprofit Life Lab organization has built a fine boutique of garden-based c [...]

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English Language Development Bears Fruit in School Gardens

English Language Development Bears Fruit in School Gardens

Life Lab's Language Acquisition and Science Education in Rural Schools (LASERS)  program showed the positive links between language development and hands-on science using the Life Lab Science curriculum. This theme was recently revisited by the National Gardening As [...]

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Santa Cruz Sentinel ~ Strawberries are a Blast

Santa Cruz Sentinel ~ Strawberries are a Blast

"Food,What?!" Strawberry Youth Blast coverage from the Santa Cruz Sentinel -- All things strawberry were the focus at the UCSC Farm and Garden Wednesday, as 300 county high and middle school students joined volunteers from Food, What?! for the 2010 Strawberry Blast. Te [...]

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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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“Food, What?!” Youth Program

“Food, What?!” Youth Program

Eco Company TV created this video on Life Lab's Spring Afterschool Internship. It aired across the nation on over 100 TV stations. Check out more at Eco Company http://www.eco-company.tv/tvshow/episode-102-organic-growing More on "Food,What?!" [...]

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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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“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest in the Sentinel

“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest in the Sentinel

The Santa Cruz Sentinel covered our largest youth Harvest Fest to date. The article "A field trip to chew on: teens run organic food festival"quotes this student participant: Lorraine Medina talks fast and waves her arms when you ask her about organic vegetables. [...]

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“Food, What?!” on National TV!

“Food, What?!” on National TV!

Eco Company TV created this video on our "Food, What?!" Spring Afterschool Internship. It aired across the nation on over 100 TV stations. http://www.eco-company.tv/tvshow/episode-102-organic-growing [...]

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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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“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest on KSBW News

“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest on KSBW News

KSBW TV News was on hand at our 2008 Harvest Fest that served hundreds of Middle and High School Students from Santa Cruz County. Check out their news report and how the reporters were trying to get the right inflection on the words "FOOOOD.....WHHAT!!!??!!!" See fe [...]

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“Food, What?!” Strawberry Blast

“Food, What?!” Strawberry Blast

Taken from the Santa Cruz Sentinel Article "County students dig in at 'Strawberry Blast"": Nearly 100 students from across the county traveled to the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden Friday to learn about the social benefits and epicurean delights of fresh, organic and lo [...]

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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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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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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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1 day ago

Readers To Eaters

Love this new review on Sandor Katz and the Tiny Wild from Shelf Awareness! bit.ly/3bG3czi "Martin and Lee incorporate quotes from Katz throughout their energetic, onomatopoeic text… Julie Wilson’s casual, enthusiastic, earth-toned illustrations suit the subject and Katz’s effervescent personality. The entertainment value here is rivaled by expansive backmatter including an afterword by Katz addressing readers, a visual guide to kraut-making, long author and illustrator notes (including ethnographic research) and additional resources.A fizzy and informative celebration of fermentation that enthusiastically supports curious experimentation and food literacy."..#FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #FoodHeroes #FoodBiography #FoodWriter #Fermentor #Fermentation #NoHeatCooking #TinyWild #Microbes #FoodScience #STEM #LGBTQ #Queer #QueerCommunity #SummerReading #SummerLearning #SummerCooking #SummerGardening #KidsGardening American Farm Bureau Foundation for AgricultureNational Farm to School Network Tennessee Library Association Tennessee Agriculture in the ClassroomSlow Food Middle TennesseeJunior Master Gardener Program The American Horticultural Society Big Green Life LabChelsea Green Publishing

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4 weeks ago

Philip Lee

So excitd about #MDSNAPEd #EatYourWords kickoff Thur! Check out video on summer program connecting #NutritionEducation & #EarlyLiteracy, giving away 50,000 Sylvia’s Spinach at schools and #FarmersMarkets. Event info+ kickoff w author Katherine Pryor+ resources @ extension.umd.edu/eat-your-words..#SNAPEd #EarlyLiteracy #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #Nutrition #NutritionEducation #EatingFresh #EatingVegetables #KidsGardneing #SchoolGarden #FarmToSchoolSlow Food USA School Garden NetworkBig Green Common Threads Pilot Light Life Lab

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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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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2 months 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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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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