Life Lab

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

Middle School Social Science Lessons

These lessons have been developed to bring garden-based nutrition education and California standards-based social studies curriculum together. We believe that food history is an integral part of understanding culture and that experiential lessons in the garden and cooking classroom can encourage students to eat more healthily and deepen their understanding of past civilizations.

The lessons below are works in progress and are not yet approved by the Network for a Healthy California. These are a sample; garden and cooking activities have been modified and tested for most seventh grade social studies units (Fall of Rome, Rise of Islam, Civilizations of West Africa, Ancient China, Feudal Japan, Feudal Europe, Renaissance, and Mezo-America). For eighth grade we have lessons for the Constitutional Convention, Native American, and Westward Expansion units. If you would like more information please contact

China in the Garden (Grade 7)
Students are introduced to fruits and vegetables that originated in China as well as wellness
practices and the cultural significance of citrus through a multi-station activity. A follow up cooking lesson is available.

Europe in the Garden (Grade 7)
The grains, fruits, and vegetables of Feudal Europe are presented to students in a multi-station
activity. Students will understand that social status under Feudalism affected food options through a poster matching game, get to grind wheatberries into flour (to be used to make bread later), and taste peas while learning about the nutritional value of various European fruits and vegetables.

Westward Expansion in the Garden (Grade 8)
Students are introduced to fruits and vegetables available during the overland journey from the East Coast of the United States to the West during the 1800's. Students act as settlers in this garden based card game, and move along one of the three trails, which presents challenges in regards to geography, climate, and food security. After gathering produce from the different regions of the U.S., students put them together in a cooking activity, making bean chili and writing ghost stories.

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Many thanks to the talented Peter Weiss for sharing his wonderful music with 45+ attendees at a Common House Concert at Coyote Crossing Cohousing last night. Peter generously donated all of the proceeds ($378) to Life Lab - thank you, Peter and all who were there and donated! ... See MoreSee Less

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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Life Lab! We are grateful to be planting seeds of hope with every child that we reach. Join us and show your gratitude by supporting Life Lab on #GivingTuesday, 12/1. #isupportlifelab, #donate ... See MoreSee Less

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How might our world be different if the next generation approached challenges with curiosity, respect, and a deep appreciation for personal health and the health of the planet? Life Lab is teaching children to love learning, healthy food, and nature. Will you join us in this life-changing work with a donation to Life Lab today? #isupportlifelab #donate ... See MoreSee Less

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What a pleasure and honor to share a bit of Life Lab's work with the preschool that I attended when I was 4 years old - Anneleise's in Laguna Beach! It was a wonderful evening sharing a local, seasonal feast prepared by crazy talented chefs in support of SEEDS Arts and Education! #seedsartsandeducation ... See MoreSee Less

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Eat A Rainbow Lesson Video shows how we connect kids to nutrition education in the garden - we are not talking Skittles here! ... See MoreSee Less

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What a day in Watsonville! Started at HA Hyde with a Kindergarten garden assessment and signing up K-5 teachers for garden classes. Over a dozen teachers signed up to come and learn in one of the finest school gardens in the county created by Patrick Littleton. Then on to the revamped garden at Amesti School where we installed irrigation, planted some perennials, built a bench and finished the fencing. The day ended at the Life Lab Blooming Classroom with an after school harvest field trip for Hyde students and where our deer fencing project slowly moves along. #terrifictuesday @FoodCorps @pvusd ... See MoreSee Less

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Rachel Pringle

Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside

Life Lab has been the most innovative and relevant organization in this field. From providing the best curriculum to their cutting edge professional development, we have relied on Life Lab as our go to organization for support, ideas, and collaboration.

Erica Curry

Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps

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.

Sheila Bricken

Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary

Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.

Tara Neier

Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom

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.