Life Lab

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

FoodCorps California, managed by Co-Host Sites Life Lab and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, has selected ten organizations to place twelve service corps members across the state in 2013-2014. 

Visit the California FoodCorps Page.

The following organizations, which include a mix of school districts, non-profit, and university organizations, will be included in the AmeriCorps Education Award application to bring FoodCorps to California.

Ventura Unified School District – 1 service member (Ventura)
Garden School Foundation – 1 service member (Los Angeles)
Center for Nutrition and Activity – 1 service member (Chico)
Sierra Harvest – 1 service member (Grass Valley)
North Coast Opportunities – 1 service member (Ukiah)
Oakland Unified School District – 2 service members (Oakland)
San Diego Unified School District – 1 service member (San Diego)
UC Cooperative Extension Central Sierra -1 service member (San Andreas)
Life Lab – 2 service members (Santa Cruz) second service member shared between CAFF and Life Lab programming.
Community Alliance with Family Farmers – 1 service member (Sonoma)

Interested in being a California Service Site and hosting a service member? Fill out this form so that we can email when we are opening applications for organizations to apply as California Service Sites.

Related Press

CA FoodCorps State Training at the Life Lab Garden Classroom

Santa Cruz will soon be hub of a California food education initiative – Santa Cruz Sentinel 1/26/13

FoodCorps' California service sites announced – LA Times 1/31/13


View CA Food Corps Service Sites in a full screen map

2013 Service Site Selection Process NOTE This is outdated content for archival purposes. If funding becomes available to expand we will contact interested sites. Note your interest in being a CA Service Site on this form
Service Sites Explained
Service Member Benefits
Service Site Selection Criteria
Service Site Selection Timeline
Application Information Conference Call (not required for applying)
Service Site Application Link 

Clearly there is high demand for the program – we have received requests for over 90 service members for our application to FoodCorps! At this point FoodCorps can support somewhere between 12 – 20 members in the inaugural year in California, and as a result we have to use a more rigorous process to choose potential Service Sites. The exact number of FoodCorps members we are allotted in California depends on the funding distribution from AmeriCorps at the national and state levels. CAFF, Life Lab, and FoodCorps will be submitting grant proposals for the AmeriCorps funding, and we need to select sites as part of our proposal. We cannot guarantee that all Service Sites selected as partners in the grant to AmeriCorps will be funded, but we will try our best to accommodate those service sites selected. Final decisions will be made in June 2013.
Service Sites
FoodCorps is a nationwide team of leaders that connects kids to real food and helps them grow up healthy. We do that by placing motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service. Working under the direction of local partner Service Sites, we implement a three-ingredient recipe for healthy kids. FoodCorps service members:

·      Teach kids about what healthy food is and where it comes from

·      Build and tend school gardens

·      Bring high-quality local food into public school cafeterias

Service Sites are crucial to supporting the FoodCorps’ members and will become members of a strong California network of Farm to School and school gardens. While the Service Sites will be able to extend their reach through FoodCorps, it is important to know that it is a commitment to support the FoodCorps service members’ development and to contribute to meeting the mission of FoodCorps: Through the hands and minds of emerging leaders, FoodCorps strives to give all youth an enduring relationship with healthy food.
Service Sites, grassroots nonprofits, public schools or districts, and community-based organizations chosen by the co-Host Site must commit to:

  • Direct the work of FoodCorps service members in a specific community or school
  • Collaborate with the Host Site on recruiting and selecting service members
  • Share responsibility for evaluation and accountability

Service Sites must be able to place FoodCorps members in positions where they can address the following service pillars:
Knowledge: Service members teach children about food and nutrition in the classroom by developing and teaching lesson plans to grades ranging from kindergarten through high school, integrating activities into subjects such as math, science and history, working with teachers and school administrators to increase food and nutrition education in curricula, and more.
Engagement: Service members grow healthy food with students, teachers, and community members in school and community gardens, dynamic educational settings where kids can get their hands dirty and experience what they’re learning first-hand. While some service members expand/maintain already-existing school gardens, greenhouses and hoop houses, others work to establish new gardens. Members may assist or lead the planning process: meetings with school administrators and teachers, fundraising, garden design, etc. Service members develop garden sustainability plans and recruit community volunteers to ensure that the projects they start last into the future.
Access: Service members change what's for lunch by sourcing food from local farms for cafeterias, promoting local foods through cafeteria taste tests, working with school food directors and staff to integrate healthier foods into breakfast, lunch and snack programs, and more.
FoodCorps Service Member Benefits include:

  • A $15,000 living allowance
  • $5,550 AmeriCorps Segal Education Award: Upon successful competition of a 1,700 hour term of service, service members will receive this monetary award which can be used to pay for education at qualified institutions of higher education, educational training, and to re-pay qualified student loans.
  • Health insurance: FoodCorps will provide basic health, vision and dental coverage.
  • SNAP eligibility (dependent on total income)
  • Student loan forbearance (if eligible)
  • Partial childcare reimbursements (if eligible)

To find out more information about the FoodCorps program, please visit

Criteria for Service Sites:
Due to extremely high demand for FoodCorps members in California, we have chosen specific criteria to ensure the best Service Sites for FoodCorps members.

  • FoodCorps members must work on all 3 FoodCorps pillars: local food procurement, garden based education, and nutrition education
  • No more than 3 members per service site
  • FoodCorps members must work in a school setting or closely with a school
  • FoodCorps members must be able to deliver at least 10 hours of instruction per student per year
  • Ability to commit $5000 for the FoodCorps service member
  • Stable organizational finances
  • Diverse geographic distribution of Service Sites

For frequently asked questions for Service Sites, please visit:

California Service Site Selection Timeline
Selection Site Conference Call: December 18, 2012
Selection Site Applications Due: January 4, 2013
Selection Site Notification: By January 21, 2013
AmeriCorps Education Award Grant Due: February 6, 2013
Notification of Americorps Education Award Grant: June 2013
Service Site Confirmation: June 2013
FoodCorps Member Selection Process: May – July 2013
FoodCorps Members Term at Service Sites: August 2013 – Aug 2014

For More Information:
If you’d like to learn more or ask questions about the process, please join a conference call on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 11:30am PST. This is an informational call only and is not required to apply.
Conference Call Line: (218) 339-4300
Passcode: 714537#

To Apply:
Fill out the application at by January 4, 2013.

Preview and download a read only version of the application here


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2 days ago

Life Lab

Camp staff has arrived! We can’t wait to greet all the campers next week. We have spots still available for 4-6 year olds, Tuesdays and Thursdays. has all the details.
#lifelab #summercamp #gardeneducation
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6 days ago

Life Lab

We have a few spots still open for our 4-6 years old camp T/TH camp. Tell your friends.Calling all 4-6 year olds! We have openings in our T/Th Garden Sprouts Day Camp This is a great first day camp experience! See MoreSee Less

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7 days ago

Life Lab

A reminder to vote for Life Lab when you shop at New Leaf (there are paper ballots in the stores) to continue to be an EnviroToken recipient! We have been so grateful for this support from New Leaf Community Markets! Voting closes June 30th, and you can vote EVERY time you go to the store!Help select your store’s Envirotoken partners! For every reusable grocery bag you use at New Leaf, we give you a 10¢ Envirotoken to donate to one of six local nonprofits. Visit your neighborhood store between now and June 30 to cast your vote for which non-profits will receive this year’s donations. Thanks for helping us give back to our local communities! See MoreSee Less

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1 week ago

Life Lab

Happy Monday!

#lifelab #gardeneducation #chickens #chickensofinstagram See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Thanks to our volunteer carpenter Michael for the beautiful new planters.

Have you visited the life lab garden lately? Come check out what’s new. The garden is open to the public sunrise to sunset daily!

#lifelab #gardeneducation #welovevolunteers See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

We are so grateful to be a current EnviroToken recipient at New Leaf’s Westside location–AND we are on the ballot AGAIN for the next round! Be sure to go into any store location and cast your paper ballot for Life Lab! This support makes a big impact on our ability to grow healthy, inspired children across Santa Cruz County & beyond. Thank you, New Leaf Community Markets!Happy Earth Month! Our Envirotoken program turns 25 this year, and we owe a HUGE thank you to all of our amazing customers for your support over the years. Founded in 1993, together we’ve kept 7 million bags out of landfills and raised over $700,000 for local non-profits! See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Calling all 4-6 year olds! We have openings in our T/Th Garden Sprouts Day Camp This is a great first day camp experience! See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Less than 3 weeks until our Benefit Brunch! Hope you can join us!

Here’s a taste of the kind of inspiration you’ll get at our Brunch. Whitney Cohen, our Education Director, gave this speech at our 2014 Benefit Brunch–totally worth 8 minutes of your time to watch this! Whitney is gearing up to give a brand new speech at our upcoming event–you won’t want to miss it!

Registration at: Lab Education Director eloquently shares why our work matters to 150 guest at our 2014 Benefit Brunch. See MoreSee Less

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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.
Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside
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