Life Lab

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


Watsonville School Garden Crew Spring 2017

May 10 - Ann Soldo School Garden Irrigation and Planting Day Today we installed a drip irrigation system on all the garden beds and around the garden to water the perennials we planted awhile back. We also got help from a couple of student [...]

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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 outdo [...]

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Plant It, Grow It, Eat It! Workshop Teaches Garden-Based Nutrition

View this article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel By Devika Garg-Bansal SANTA CRUZ >> Kids and vegetables are not exactly best friends. Parents know this all too well, as do restaurants that put out mac and cheese on kids’ menus. But the t [...]

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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 [...]

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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 t [...]

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Making Waves

It was a pleasant surprise to see Life Lab as the featured non-profit in the Aug/Sept 2015 issue of Santa Cruz Waves. They did a great job summarizing what we do. Thanks Linda Koffman and Santa Cruz Waves. [...]

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Webinar: Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden

View the archived webinar at EdWeb Growing School Gardens Community Life Lab curates the following resources at the Collective School Garden Network: Finding Funds for School Gardens at [...]

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See Our New Blooming Classroom Site

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

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2015 Workshops at the Life Lab Garden Classroom

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 [...]

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Summer Vacation for Your School Garden

Summer Vacation for Your Garden- Adapted from The Life Lab Garden Times, Spring 2003. Here are some ideas to keep your garden maintained during the summer so that your fall garden will be full of treats to harvest instead of weeds. Garden Guardia [...]

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Free Community Tour for Adults

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

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 hear [...]

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Outdoor Classroom Management Webinar

View Life Lab and EdWeb's Growing School Garden Community webinar on Outdoor Classroom Management View the archived webinar here! View all our webinars. View Life Lab's resources on effective outdoor classroom management [...]

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Steps to a Successful Garden Workday

-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 [...]

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2014 Summer Camp Highlights!

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 g [...]

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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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Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

What 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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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

Shop 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! [...]

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How Do Schools Compost?

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, compo [...]

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Common Core in the Garden Webinar

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 lar [...]

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Regional Support Models for Sustaining School Gardens Webinar

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 Gard [...]

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2014 California School Garden Survey

May 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 Ga [...]

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Common Core in the Garden

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&# [...]

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Saving Water in the Garden

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. T [...]

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California FoodCorps State Training at the Garden Classroom

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 act [...]

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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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EdWeb’s Growing School Gardens Online Community and Webinars

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 Investigatio [...]

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Fall 2013 Newsletter

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 Re [...]

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Inquiry in the Garden Webinar

Life 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 [...]

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“Love Us” on Monday at Discretion Brewery

Have 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 to [...]

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School Garden Support Organizations Unite!

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 networ [...]

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Detergent Bottle Watering Can

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 bot [...]

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The Fine Art of Flower Pounding – Making Floral Prints Video

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 playli [...]

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

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 encourag [...]

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Think Globally, Learn Locally: Using local environments to engage young minds

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 Educati [...]

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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 FoodC [...]

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Farm and Garden Jokes

Knock, Knock... Have a joke or riddle of your own? Share it in the comments below. What did the doctor remove from her salad? Kidney beans! Why do worms act so frightened? They have no backbone. What is an ant? A hard-working bug that still finds time to go to lots [...]

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Small Hands, Big Garden

Have you seen this insert in your local press?  Small Hands, Big Garden  highlights Life Lab's Book of Gardening Projects for Kids. A story created by national syndicator Content That Works for their Homestyle Magazine. [...]

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Tomorrow is the day! The Human Race is one of the many ways you can support Life Lab in growing healthy, inspired children. Make a donation today (or register for the race!) at or visit the registration booth starting at 8AM tomorrow at 2300 Delaware Ave. in Santa Cruz. You don't want to miss the fun! #humanracesc, #isupportlifelab ... See MoreSee Less

2017 Human Race Walkathon and Fun Run

May 13, 2017, 8:00am - May 13, 2017, 2:00pm

Human Race Santa Cruz

Come walk, run, skip, or roll with us at the 37th Annual Human Race Walkathon and Fun Run. Enjoy delicious food, music along the 5 mile course, a people's parade, costumes and family friendly activities at the Fairy Tale Themed Village after the race. All who donate $35 or more will also receive a Human Race T-shirt. The Human Race is our community's largest giving campaign. This year, 130 Human Race teams are reaching out for your support. All you have to do to register is donate to your favorite cause then join the fun on race day. Our 2017 theme is FairyTales and all are welcome to join us in costume! REGISTER ONLINE at or on race day starting at 8AM. The race begins at 9AM at 2300 Delaware Ave in Santa Cruz. If you can't make it you can still grant a wish by making an online donation. Volunteers Needed: Want to volunteer at the Race? We are still looking for a few more folks to make this day a success. please contact Odessa at

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Calling our community! We are looking to borrow a projector with a minimum of 4,000 lumens. Let us know if you have any leads, thank you! ... 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.