Life Lab

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

Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden Workshop

The Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) Workshop is a FREE, one-day training for teams working to create or enhance a school garden program. This workshop covers planning and designing a school garden, basic gardening skills, curricular connections and outdoor classroom management.

The California School Garden Training Program is awaiting notification of additional funds to offer more free and low cost school garden trainings. Currently there are no CSGT sponsored workshops being offered.

CSGT Workshop Notification List to be notified of future CSGT workshop announcements and locations.

View other school garden workshops at the calendar. View upcoming Life Lab workshops at The Garden Classroom at

View CSYSG training resources at

School garden teams of 2-4 are encouraged to attend. Teams may include teachers, parents, volunteers, school administrators, and other supporters of your garden program. There is no cost for attending this workshops, but advanced registration is required.

If registering a team, please submit one registration for your team and list all team members' names, emails, and roles. Come with a team of 3 or more and receive a school garden gift!

Workshops serve up to 25 participants. 


All participants will receive the book Gardens for Learning, published by the California School Garden Network, as well as other resource materials.

1 semester unit of graduate education credit available for $60.

CSYSG Workshop Agenda Topics

  • Why School Gardens?
  • Outdoor Classroom Management
  • Garden Beds and Planting
  • Weeds, Water, and Pests
  • Curricular Connections
  • Crop Planning and Plant Selection
  • School Garden Design
  • Planning Your Program

CSYSG Workshop Goals

Participants will:

  1. Understand the power of school gardens in promoting academic achievement, healthy lifestyles,environmental stewardship, and community and social development.
  2. Become familiar with design elements of educational gardens.
  3. Become comfortable with basic gardening skills.
  4. Learn methods for effective outdoor classroom management.
  5. Become familiar with a variety of helpful resources related to creating and sustaining school gardens.
  6. Understand the value and necessity of teamwork to start and sustain a school garden.
  7. Network with other, local people involved in creating and sustaining school gardens.
  8. Have an initial plan for their school garden program.


The California School Garden Training Program is funded by a California Department of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant. The program will train 1,500 people in creating and sustaining school gardens from 2012-2014. Learn more about the CSGT.  


Training partners include Life Lab, UC Davis Children's Garden Program, and The Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, all in collaboration with the California School Garden Network.

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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