Life Lab

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

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Independent Stations – Caretaking and Observations

A garden classroom is wonderful space for children to "take ownership" of a corner of their school. Here are examples and resources for independent stations that contribute to garden caretaking and/or engage students in the scientific practice of [...]

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Garden Pathways

101 Ways to Connect Learning to the Garden Gardening Project Map created in the early 1980s by Vicki Greenhouse for her 2nd & 3rd grade students in Lincoln, Vermont. Orginally published in Life Lab's The Growing Classroom in 1982, reproduced in c [...]

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May 2017

Spring Harvest & Planting for Fall! Above:  A healthful harvest of beets, kohlrabi, and carrots was an exciting part of our spring science and nutrition field trip activities for Watsonville elementary school students at our Bl [...]

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April 2017

A Toast to Pollinators! Spring is here in our Blooming Classroom in Watsonville, and these students from Amesti Elementary School learned about the importance of pollinators to plants and the environment. Here, they celebrate the vital rol [...]

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Watsonville School Garden Crew – Spring 2017

June 7th - Hall District School Flower Planting and Irrigation Installation Today we planted flowers with first graders and continued irrigaiton installation   May 31 - Hall District School Irrigation Installati [...]

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March 2017

With the coming of spring, Life Lab trainers were out in full force, inspiring educators to cultivate children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature in school gardens across the nation. It was too hard to choose just one photo to share, so here is [...]

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February 2017

Have you ever made a garden on a cracker? These third grade students from Watsonville's Starlight Elementary School have! As part of weekly field trips at our Blooming Classroom, children from several Pajaro Valley U [...]

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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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December 2016 & January 2017

December 2016 School Garden Support Organizations unite! We hosted 19 school garden support organizations from across the nation for a week-long institute in early December to share successful program models and best practices for [...]

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November 2016

Learning and tasting the 6 plant parts. Healthy Eating is FUN in our Blooming Classroom!  We always taste fruits and vegetables in our garden programs, and many teachers and parents are surprised at how the children react. In the f [...]

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October 2016

October was National Farm to School Month, and we were busy! The photos above are from trainings we led this month for more than 250 teachers in Bend, OR, and Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Salinas and Ventura, CA. In these workshops, tours and conference [...]

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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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September 2016

These second graders from Boulder Creek Elementary School had a great time picking apples and pressing them into fresh cider in the Apple Room at our Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz last month. In addition to tasting fruit straight from the trees, st [...]

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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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August 2016

These FoodCorps garden educators aren't sticking their tongues out at you! They're showing off their "garden candy" ... edible borage flowers they're about to eat. (Have you ever tried them? They taste like cucumber! Pinch the [...]

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July 2016

It's camp season here at Life Lab, and like these fresh-picked beets, it's been big! More than 300 children from 4 to 18 years old are part of our Garden Sprouts and Wildlands & Watering Cans day camps this season at our G [...]

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May 2016

It used to be that teachers felt like they had to "sneak" garden-based science lessons into their students' education. This week we saw first hand how the tide is turning and hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based, outdoor science educ [...]

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April 2016

Our work with Watsonville schools is growing like spring carrots!   Third grade students from Alianza Elementary School enjoyed freshly harvested carrots, camaraderie and learning outdoors as part of our spring season of academically en [...]

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March 2016

Helping Teachers Use Gardens As Dynamic Science Classrooms We hosted 25 teachers for our Next Generation Science in the Garden workshop on March 11th at our Garden Classroom in Santa Cruz. Here is what they had to say about it: " [...]

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February 2016

Tasty new experiences! Giving kids the chance to try new fruits and vegetables in a fun garden environment can help them form lifelong healthy eating habits. These Hall District Elementary Students clearly enjoyed their new tasting experienc [...]

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January 2016

The rain has brought so much more than water. "Going on a field trip to Life Lab during a wild rainstorm was an incredible experience that will be remembered long after the the year passes. The 'Eating a Rainbow' curriculum [...]

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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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December 2015

Gratitude - from a child's point of view. Emma's note sweetly sums up the experience that children have in our fall Farm to Fork field trips at our Garden Classroom, connecting kids with the land and where basic, healthful foods come [...]

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November 2015

Learning Doesn't Stop at 3pm... When school let out on Tuesdays this fall, 60 students came to our Blooming Classroom educational garden in Watsonville to connect with nature, science, healthy food and each other in academically enriched [...]

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September 2015

We're really "cooking" with FoodCorps! Daiana demonstrates hand pressing of tortillas and explores the amazing world of corn with field trip students. This month we welcomed new FoodCorps service members Lidia Tropea [...]

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August 2015

Teaching teachers to use gardens as classrooms August was a packed month for our educator training programs! Gearing up for the new school year, teachers turned to Life Lab for training and inspiration in garden-based learning. Pictured here [...]

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July 2015

Movement Building in Austin!   School garden support superstars (front row) Whitney Cohen - Life Lab; Rachel Pringle - Education Outside, San Francisco; Jane Hirschi - CitySprouts, Cambridge, MA (back row) John Fish [...]

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Webinar: Innovative Ways to Fund Your School Garden

View the archived webinar at EdWeb Growing School Gardens Community www.edweb.net/schoolgardens. Life Lab curates the following resources at the Collective School Garden Network: Finding Funds for School Gardens at www.csgn.org/funding-school [...]

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See Our New Blooming Classroom Site

Learn more about our work in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District at www.lifelab.org/pajaro. [...]

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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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June 2015

Morning Chores Summer is in full swing here at the Garden Classroom with 47 kids from 4 to 10 years old enjoying garden activities, the land, and each other daily.   Every morning, our day camps include "farm ch [...]

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May 2015

"Feeding 2 Birds With 1 Seed" At each Life Lab Garden Classroom Field Trip we are feeding the minds of visiting school children while at the same time training future environmental educators. These children are on a Sowin [...]

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April 2015

Science Exploration "Hey! There's a root in my soil!" This month we welcomed the first students to our new Blooming Classroom educational garden on a farm in western Watsonville. We're excited to be developing this sit [...]

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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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March 2015

We don't have to ask kids to eat their veggies. This winter, 485 students in our Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods field trips devoured the veggie soup they helped prepare with fresh produce they picked in our garden classroom. We love c [...]

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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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Life Lab shared Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems's post. ... See MoreSee Less

Doron Comerchero, founder and director of FoodWhat?!, will interview Chadwick Garden manager Orin Martin tonight (Wednesday, July 12) on the FoodSpeaks show, 7-7:45 pm on KZSC, 88.1. Call with your comments and questions at 831-459-4036. Streaming: www.kzsc.org/listen/

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Having a great time in Portland, OR. Life Lab's John Fisher is presenting at the International Master Gardens Conference and the AHS National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium. Sharing and learning with 1,500+ garden educators.
#2017imgc #2017ncygs @americanhorticulturesociety
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30 educators from across the country shared the power of garden-based learning. Mindfulness in the garden, transplanting with kids, bed prep, and bringing learning to life in the garden were just a few of the topics covered over the two days. Our next workshop is on Outdoor Classroom and Garden Program Management July 27th. ... 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.