See our New Blooming Classroom Site

July 2nd, 2015


Learn more about our work in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District at

 … [

2015 Workshops At The Life Lab Garden Classroom

July 1st, 2015

Life Lab Garden Classroom Workshops

Upcoming Educator Workshops in the Life Lab Garden Classroom:

August 1-2, 2015 – 9:00AM-3:30PM
The Growing Classroom: 2-Day Intensive on Garden-Based Learning (Grades 2-6) – Cost: $300/person. 1 semester unit of graduate education credit available per day for an additional $60 fee per day.

September 12, 2015 – 9AM-3PM
Sowing the Seeds of Wonder: Discovering the Garden in Early Childhood Education (Grades PreK-K) – Cost: $180/person. 1 semester unit of graduate [Read More →]

Outdoor Classroom Management Webinar

October 28th, 2014

View Life Lab and EdWeb's Growing School Garden Community webinar on Outdoor Classroom Management

Thursday, January 15, 2015 – 1pm / Pacific Time, 4pm / Eastern Time 

View the archived webinar here!

View all our webinars.
View Life Lab's resources on effective outdoor classroom management

Presenters: Whitney Cohen, Education Director at Life Lab.

Along with abundant opportunities for learning and fun, outdoor classrooms come with a unique set of challenges, particularly in relation to … [Read More →]

Steps to a Successful Garden Workday

September 25th, 2014

-by John Fisher Life Lab's Director of Partnerships and Programs
This post is part of our Sustaining School Gardens Series


Over the years I have led many garden workdays at the Life Lab Garden Classroom and school gardens across California.

In addition to the obvious goal of getting garden tasks accomplished, another big goal of a workday is to make volunteers feel that they are contributing to a worthy … [Read More →]

Webinar: Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden

May 19th, 2015

View the archived webinar at EdWeb Growig School Gardens Community

Life Lab curates the following resources at the Collective School Garden Network:


Innovative Ways to Fund School Gardens

Presented by John Fisher, Director of Programs and Partnerships for Life Lab and Kevin Hesser, Middle School Teacher and Co-Director of Gardens to Grow In

Presented by … [

Free Community Tour for Adults

April 28th, 2015

Tour Header

Life Lab Summer Community Tour – For Grown-Ups!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 – 11am-Noon

Free – More Information and Registration

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Farm to la Escuela: Nutrition Education with English Language Learners

March 2nd, 2015

This service highlight, originally posted with the California Farm to School Network, is written by FoodCorps Service Member Sara Mendes who is currently serving with Life Lab and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) along the Central Coast. Serving in the heartland of agriculture and in Spanish-speaking communities, Sara has been able to serve countless of students by teaching Harvest of the Month lessons and leading field trips. Read on [Read More →]

New Leaf Community Day

March 2nd, 2015

New Leaf Community Day

   Thursday, March 19th
Westside New Leaf
1101 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz, CA

Would you like to eat a rainbow? Stop by our table at the Westside New Leaf from 11am to 2pm or 4 to 7pm on Thursday, March 19th and we'll show you how! Then fill your baskets with fresh, delicious, brightly colored food from Westside New Leaf. Thanks to the Westside New Leaf Community Day program, Life Lab will receive 5% of sales[Read More →]

2015 Spring Benefit Brunch

March 1st, 2015

Join us for our annual Spring Benefit Brunch on Sunday, May 31st, from 10:00am to 12:00pm!
Learn more at 

Life Lab Benefit Brunch

Register Now Button

Stay up to date on everything Life Lab by signing up for our e-newsletter, liking us on Facebook, or following us on Twitter!

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We did it!

January 9th, 2015

We did it! 2


Carrot Gauge light green

We did it!  Thanks to your generous support, Life Lab was able to reach, and exceed, our goal of raising $50,000 by the end of 2014!  We could not be more thrilled, knowing that these resources are helping us change the lives of many thousands of children through inspiring, powerful Life Lab programs locally and across the country.

Our carrot is looking healthy! Total Campaign Giving is now

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Growing Healthy, Inspired Kids Locally – Cultivating the Movement Nationally

December 10th, 2014

Carrot Gauge light green

A generous friend of Life Lab has offered a $25,000 challenge gift to help us extend our resources to more high-need schools. Current Giving: $44,330

Help us match this gift by Dec. 31st to make these vital opportunities real for kids here and across the country!

 Donate Now Button

As we look to 2015, we are more committed than ever to growing inspired, informed, creative, and collaborative kids through this innovative … [Read More →]

2014 Summer Camp Highlights!

September 25th, 2014


View Photos from the 2014 Camp Season

Aahhh, summer….  The season of summer day camp; when Life Lab rings with the sound of children’s laughter, the sun shines down on the heads of kids playing games in the meadow, and every child lifts up a cup of a delicious green garden smoothie and gives thanks to the bees and the chickens.  I think the camp staff says this every single [Read More →]

New Edition of The Growing Classroom!

September 10th, 2014

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 on Healthy Eating, an expanded resource section on Cooking with Kids, over 25 student lab sheets for experiments, and more. The 480 pages of science, math, [Read More →]

Life Lab Lands in Nowata Oklahoma

August 13th, 2014

Nowata Star

Oklahoma HO! as shared in the Nowata Star.
Nowata Oklahoma was one of 16 offsite workshops this year where we inspired teachers to bring learning to life in the garden!

See where else we were. … [

We’re Changing the Nature of Education

June 26th, 2014

Hear Education Director Whitney Cohen share how our work is 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 those who prefer words, here are some highlights of Whitney's talk:

"There's a real difference between knowing about something and knowing something. A child could know everything there is to know about carrots; [Read More →]

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

June 22nd, 2014

California School Garden Training Program Final Numbers

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 Workshops, in which new leaders are trained to replicate the CSYSG and GENE workshops. 


View GENE and CSYSG Trainer Materials.

Learn more about the California School Garden Training Program.

Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

April 30th, 2014

Ana WhiteWhat a great example of repurposing, but do they work? I have researched a bit and asked school gardeners that use these greenhouses if they do work.

They do:)!



The following sites are the best resources I have found on building plastic bottle greenhouses:

Andru Lensmaster has been blogging about his greenhouse since 2009. He provides loads of design ideas, links, and data on how effective his greenhouse works in … [Read More →]

One Garden, Many Schools: Multi-Use School Garden Models

April 22nd, 2014

Life Lab sprouted at Green Acres Elementary School in 1979. Most of the gardens that we have worked with over the past 35 years are located on, and serve one school site. While visiting school gardens in Denmark and Norway I was impressed by their model of one large garden serving multiple school sites. The reality of challenges related to creating and sustaining a school garden at an individual school [Read More →]

Shop New Leaf to Support Life Lab Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 9th, 2014

Shop New Leaf to Support Life LabShop New Leaf Community Markets on the Westside of Santa Cruz on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 from 9am to 9pm. New Leaf will donate 5% of their daily profits to Life Lab.

Have a great day shopping and supporting Life Lab!… [Read More →]

How Do Schools Compost?

March 15th, 2014

A senior intern at Life Lab, Savannah Rugg, created a composting in schools survey (still open!) to better understand how composting functions in schools and school-districts. The survey asks questions regarding types of composting, compost materials, compost management, and compost curriculum. The results to the school compost survey are summarized in the charts below. It appears that most schools are either using compost as an educational tool in the school garden or … [Read More →]

Life Lab 2014 Highlights

January 20th, 2014

To see what we did in 2014,
Check out our 2014 Highlights

Together, we are changing thousands of young lives for the better.

Click here to see our past highlights and annual reports[Read More →]

Common Core in the Garden Webinar

January 13th, 2014

Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen presented a webinar on Common Core in the Garden on February 18, 2014.

View an archive of this webinar at

View all our webinars.

Learn to use a garden to bring learning to life! A school garden (however large or small) provides a meaningful context in which students can apply new academic concepts and skills. Whether they are graphing the temperature of their [Read More →]

Regional Support Models for Sustaining School Gardens Webinar

January 12th, 2014

Join Life Lab and EdWeb's Growing School Garden Community for a webinar on Regional Support Models for Sustaining School Gardens.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 – 4pm / Eastern Time

View the archived version here.

Read our article on One Garden, Many Schools.

Read more about Regional Support Models

Network with School Garden Support Organizations on the National School Garden Support Organization Forum

View all our webinars.

Presenters: John Fisher, Director [

2014 California School Garden Survey

December 12th, 2013

Take the California School Garden SurveyMay 28, 2014 Press Release – Survey Says… School Gardens Thriving in California – Results from the California School Garden Survey.

Life Lab, in collaboration with the California School Garden Network, conducted the California School Garden Survey to gain insights into the factors that help school gardens to function effectively, the resources that are needed to sustain them, and how they are utilized. The 2014 California School Garden Survey received 552 completed responses from schools … [Read More →]

Common Core and Next Generation Science in the Garden

December 11th, 2013

Here at Life Lab, we have cross-mapped every lesson in The Growing Classroom with the new Common Core Math and Language Arts standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) being rolled out in schools across the country! We've also cross-mapped every lesson in Sowing the Seeds of Wonder with California's Preschool Learning Foundations.





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Saving Water in the Garden

December 10th, 2013

Saving Water in the Garden Sign Design

The newest sign in our Garden Sign collection is designed by National Geographic Scientific Illustrator Jose Miguel Mayo and demonstrates tips and tools for saving water. 

View all our Garden Sign Designs.

Tips for Saving Water in the Garden

Plant native and drought-tolerant plants. Learn more at native plant organizations like California Native Plant Society.

For newly planted seeds and seedlings, water less deep and more frequently to … [Read More →]

Pumpkin Tea Cake

December 8th, 2013
Pumpkin Tea Cake  (makes one loaf)
1 ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
¼ tsp black pepper

1 Cup + 2 Tbs pumpkin puree
1 Cup vegetable/canola oil
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 eggs

1.    Preheat oven to 325. Grease loaf pans[

California FoodCorps State Training at the Garden Classroom

October 15th, 2013

This past week, 11 California FoodCorps service members gathered in Santa Cruz at the Life Lab Garden Classroom to engage in a three day training to learn how to connect kids to real food and see first-hand some of the best school garden and Farm to School models in action.

Now in its third year, FoodCorps, a national organization that addresses childhood obesity and food insecurity, has 125 service … [Read More →]

The Danes Are Here

September 24th, 2013

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 students, school gardeners and chefs, and farm to school support professionals.

Day one started with breakfast at a UCSC dining hall and a discussion with Tim … [Read More →]

EdWeb’s Growing School Gardens Online Community and Webinars

September 19th, 2013

LIfe Lab is a proud partner of EdWeb's online community and a contributor to their school garden webinars.

Join the community and online forum at Ed Web

View archives of webinars by Life Lab

  • Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigations for Grades K-8 in an Outdoor, Living Laboratory – Whitney Cohen, Life Lab Education Director
  • Design Ideas for a Fun, Successful Instructional School Garden – John Fisher, Life Lab
[

Fall 2013 Newsletter

September 18th, 2013

View our September 2013 Newsletter
View newsletter archives

Program Updates
Meet Faith – Support our Work 
Summer Accomplishments
Announcing the National School Garden Network
The Top Ten of Farm- and Garden-Based Education

Garden Tips and Educator Resources

Root View Cups
Detergent Bottle Watering Cans
Recipe: Sunny Green Bean Pate
Coming Soon: Common Core Standards Database
Upcoming Events
Workshops and Webinar
Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden Events… [Read More →]

Inquiry in the Garden Webinar

September 11th, 2013

Inquiry in the GardenLife Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen led an enthusiastic webinar on Inquiry in the Garden as part of EdWeb's Growing School Gardens Community

Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigations for Grades K-8 Webinar covers how to create the "Ahh-ha" moment for students, how to form investigable questions, and many other facets of inquiry-based education. 

View the archive of this very engaging webinar.

View more webinars by Life

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“Love Us” on Monday at Discretion Brewery

August 19th, 2013

Join us Monday 8/26/13 for a Fun-raiser at Discretion BrewingHave a Beer to
Support Life Lab

Monday, August 26th
Discretion Brewery in Soquel
Join the fun anytime from 
11:30 am-9:00 pm.

Come for dinner or lunch at this family friendly brewery.

During Discretion Brewing's Love Monday, 20% of all beer sales will go towards funding Life Lab's farm- and garden-based education programs.

Discretion Brewery is located at 2703 41st Avenue, Soquel, 95073.[Read More →]

Branching Out for Food Justice – FoodWhat Benefit Dinner

August 16th, 2013

Please Join Us! Learn more and register at

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School Garden Support Organizations Unite!

July 18th, 2013

National School Garden Network

We are glad to announce our latest endeavor to support school garden program development. Join the forum.

The National School Garden Network connects organizations and individuals supporting multiple school gardens across district, regional, or state levels. The network's forum provides a space for school garden professionals to connect and share resources, while its events and workshops carry the conversation to national gatherings. Learn more about the National School Garden Network[Read More →]

Detergent Bottle Watering Can

July 12th, 2013

Watering is an activity that kids can do by themselves, with little or no instruction. Having kids water their garden instills a care taking ethic.

Kids love to water and having a watering can for every kid makes it even more fun! By collecting the right types of bottles you will soon have a bottle for every kid in your group.

There are many types of bottles that can be … [Read More →]

The Fine Art of Flower Pounding – Making Floral Prints Video

July 9th, 2013

Here's a great art activity to do with flower petals. Download this lesson and some others from The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Activities to Get Outside, Dirty and Having Fun!

View more activities in our easy garden activity video playlist.

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Summer Workshop: Plant It, Grow It, Eat It – Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education Workshop

June 9th, 2013

Summer Two-Day Offering July 27-28

Workshop Description

Make the connection from seed to table in this fun and delicious workshop. Using tried-and-true Life Lab lessons and recipes for grades K-8, participants explore effective ways to teach nutrition  and encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables through gardening, harvesting and meal preparation. $300

Learn More and Register Here

Sample Workshop Agenda

View two day agenda

Learn …
  • How to lead
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Think Globally, Learn Locally: Using local environments to engage young minds

June 8th, 2013

Teacher Professional Development for Teachers Grades K-8

What: Bring science learning to life! Our local environment can provide rich science learning experiences for students. Learn about the resources available, including the recently published K-12 California Education and the Environment Initiative Curriculum, student field experiences, and laboratory lessons at Elkhorn Slough Estuarine Reserve. We will introduce the Next Generation Science Standards and the California Common Core for Science Standards.

When: [

Spring 2013 Newsletter

May 17th, 2013

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 FoodCorps Update
Vote on the Top Ten of Garden-based Learning
FoodWhat Teens Bring Learning to the Farmers' Market
Life Lab in the Press
End of the School … [