Life Lab

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

Watsonville School Garden Project Partner Schools

Creating a culture of garden-based learning in schools to enhance science and nutrition education.

What Life Lab Provides to Partner Schools

  • Scheduled NGSS lessons co-taught by Life Lab staff and your Kinder-2nd grade teachers. Lessons scheduled up to twice a month, Mid-September – Early-December and Mid-April – Late-May. View K-2 unit overview
  • Science lesson materials and garden literature library that are in alignment with PVUSD's Science and Environmental Literacy Plan.
  • Cooking and nutrition units for 3rd – 5th grade classes scheduled Late January – March using our mobile cooking cart . Cooking cart is provided for your school.
  • Opportunities for your teachers to attend free Garden Classroom Educator Workshops.
  • Garden maintenance and technical support via our Garden Crew College Intern program.
  • Online garden management and communication tool.

School Commitments

  • Appoint a school garden lead(s) to:

    • communicate/coordinate lesson scheduling among classroom teachers
    • collaborate with Life Lab staff on school garden grants and identifying/requesting funds for garden support
    • help schedule 1-2 garden workdays
  • Schedule a fall and late winter Life Lab PD session with K-2 teachers and check-ins with K-2 grade level planning teams.
  • Participating teachers complete a pre program and post program survey on garden use and their student's attitudes.
  • Principal and garden lead planning meeting with Life Lab to take place before end of 2016-17 school year.


Our Partner School Project is part of Life Lab's Pajaro Valley Initiative with funding from Sage Garden Project.

Principals, Apply to partner with Life Lab to bring science learning and nutrition education to life in your school garden.

Life Lab's mentoring and support have brought our garden program to life.  Our students are motivated and excited about science and gardening because they get to be immersed in the vividness of real-life, hands-on experiences in the outdoors.  They look forward to their garden lessons and constantly share with others concepts and experiences that they just experienced in the outdoor science lab.  We love the Amesti Eagles' garden!

~ Margaret Rosa Reading Intervention Teacher/ School Garden Coordinator Amesti Elementary School


2018-19 Application is not open at this time. Join our Watsonville School Garden Elist

2017-18 Watsonville School Garden Project Partner School Application (Application Closed)

Complete the form below or access it here.
Form to be completed by school principal.

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Teaching a Growing Classroom Workshop at @OakSpringGardenFoundation in collaboration with I feel like I’ve fallen into a small French village. This is the former estate of Paul and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon in Virginia. Mrs. Mellon was an avid horticulturalist who designed the White House Rose Garden! I am staying in the room where Jackie Kennedy stayed when she visited here!! Sharing a weekend in this space with teachers who love kids and gardens is a truly unforgettable experience. ... See MoreSee Less

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Just when I thought we’d seen it all ... this is an agrophotovoltaic school garden underneath massive solar panels at @Manzo.Ecology in Tucson. The elementary school students here gather and analyze data on how the shade from the panels helps the plants grow and how the plants help cool the panels and increase their efficiency. What?!?! It’s amazing and gives me hope. Oh, and also they have a desert tortoise in their courtyard. ... See MoreSee Less

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Have you heard?! Life Lab is one of New Leaf Community Markets' recipients of their EnviroToken program at their Westside Santa Cruz store! So get your shopping on, bring your reusable bags, and donate 10¢ to Life Lab with every bag you use! Thank you, New Leaf!
#thankyou, #grateful, #ReduceReuseRecycle, #isupportlifelab
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What happens when Whole Kids Foundation partners with you to bring 50+ leaders from School Garden Support Organizations from across the country together to get to talk shop, inspire each other, problem-solve around shared challenges, and eat amazing food prepared and served by happy 5th graders? MAGIC. That's what happens. #sgso2018 ... See MoreSee Less

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Have you heard?! Life Lab is one of New Leaf Community Markets' recipients of their EnviroToken program for their Westside Santa Cruz store! So get your shopping on, bring your reusable bags, and donate 10¢ to Life Lab with every bag you use! Thank you, New Leaf!
#thankyou, #grateful, #ReduceReuseRecycle, #isupportlifelab
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We are so grateful to be starting 2018 with such strong support! Because of so many generous gifts from our supporters like you, we surpassed our 2017 fundraising goal of $124,000, with all campaign donations totaling $125,835.

These funds will help make Life Lab field trip and summer camp programs possible for children from families and schools that could otherwise not afford them. We believe that ALL children deserve the chance to love learning, healthy food, and nature. Thanks to your support, this year we will serve even more children in Santa Cruz County and across the nation.


#beapartofit, #startingstrong, #changinglives, #isupportlifelab
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Happy almost 2018, Life Lab fans! We are only $809 dollars away from reaching our $124,000 year-end fundraising goal! Before you ring in the new year, will you help us ensure a promising 2018? 100% of the funds necessary to do this important work come from grants and from individuals like you. Will you join us in ensuring that we can continue to deepen and expand our reach, so that even more children can experience the joy of loving learning, healthy food, and nature? Your tax-deductible gift made by midnight tonight will go directly to supporting our programs.
#beapartofit, #changinglives, #optoutside, #gardenbasededucation, #happynewyear
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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