Life Lab

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

Programs of Life Lab

Life Lab Programs At-a-Glance


Garden Classroom Workshops

Every year, formal and informal educators from across the country come together in our Garden Classroom to see the magic for themselves. Come and join us for a workshop and learn new garden-based lessons and activities for children; network with other educators in the field; and enjoy a farm fresh meal in our lovely 2-acre Garden Classroom.

Off-Site Workshops

Life Lab has trained tens of thousands of educators in over 2,500 schools across the country. A kindergarten teacher recently wrote us, “Since bringing Life Lab to our school, my students are showing an improved respect toward the plants and animals on campus, an enthusiasm and curiosity to visit and learn from the garden, and expanded healthy eating practices.” Bring Life Lab to your school or community and see what grows!

Pajaro Valley Project

Through community and school partnerships Life Lab is supporting school garden development and offering on-farm field trips at our Blooming Classroom site.

California FoodCorps State Host

Life Lab and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers were selected by FoodCorps to serve as cost state leads for the California FoodCorps Program. As state hosts we direct the FoodCorps program across the state through partnerships with service sites. Service sites sponsor service members to bring farm to school programming to schools and communities across the state.

Field Trips

“This was the best field trip I have taken my class on in 17 years!” a teacher recently wrote us. Whether they’re harvesting vegetables and cooking soup, tasting honey from the beehive, or feeding the chickens, kids and adults alike have a blast while learning about science, nutrition, natural cycles, and food systems during our field trip programs for preschool through middle school.

Camp

At Life Lab camps, kids spend whole days getting muddy, singing songs, making new friends, exploring the garden and woods, creating garden crafts, and cooking farm fresh food. Adventure awaits for our campers, ages 4-14!

Publications

From garden-based science curriculum to whimsical books for parents, Life Lab’s award-winning publications are the go-to resource for educators and families interested in engaging children in gardens. We have something for everyone!

Web-Based School Garden Resources

Which lessons from The Growing Classroom are aligned with the third grade science standards? How do I host a bug race? Where can I find grants to support my school garden? Visit our website to find just about anything you might need to support your work in educational gardens.

Monterey Bay Science Project

Life Lab’s Monterey Bay Science Project brings K-12 teachers from regional schools together with college and university faculty in a variety of institutes, conferences and yearlong programs to explore effective approaches to teaching science.

Consulting

Life Lab staff is available year-round to consult with individuals, schools, and community organizations interested in establishing or enriching farm- and garden-based learning programs for all ages.

Food What?!

“FOOD, WHAT?!” is an award-winning youth empowerment and food justice project of Life Lab. FoodWhat uses food, through sustainable agriculture and health, as the vehicle for growing strong, healthy, and inspired teens. Through internships, summer jobs, and community events, FoodWhat partners with low-income and at-risk youth to grow, cook, eat, and distribute healthy, sustainably raised food and address food justice in Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

 

 

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It takes a village... ... See MoreSee Less

Thanks to the Whole Kids Foundation for the generous grant and to Big Creek Lumber for your donation to the Amesti Eagles' Garden. With the generous support of Life Lab and other community supporters, our students are receiving the gift of hands-on Next Generation Science Standards and learning about healthy eating in a beautiful outdoor classroom!

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Do you ever wonder what is living just below the surface of the San Lorenzo River? Join the Coastal Watershed Council and Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for tomorrow's Exploring the San Lorenzo River tour and find out!

We will be meeting at 8:30 on the Santa Cruz Riverwalk next to Mike Fox park and will be seining for fish and collecting benthic macroinvertebrates aka bugs! We will learn about the organisms that live in the San Lorenzo River and their food webs. This tour is open to all ages. You can sign up online or by emailing CWC River Scientist Alev Bilginsoy at abilginsoy@coastal-watershed.org. Learn more at coastal-watershed.org/what-we-do/exploring-san-lorenzo-river-series/.
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At a @soilbornfarms school garden conference, in a workshop on trees reminded me of this incredible Radiolab Podcast podcast. Listen to this one. ... See MoreSee Less

Forests feel like a place of great stillness but dig deeper and there’s a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city. 

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LIFE LAB on MAUI! so AnB stopped sugar production on Maui this year, there is tons of land available to lease and they are now taking offers. If farmers or farm educators won't get to it, it will turn into development, there are not enough offers from farmers and we need more, so please pass this on to those that are interested. To speak to An B need to look them up and make an offer. They are taking offers now! ... See MoreSee Less

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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 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 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 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.