Originally Life Lab was called Friends of the Harvest, a non-profit formed to support community programming. Around this time Gary Appel, co-founder of Life Lab was hired with Title IV C grant funding.
An excerpt from the oral history of Robbie Jaffe:
He [Gary] came out of an environmental education background. He had done a lot of work at outdoor ed camps, and had done some curriculum development. As soon as we interviewed him, I knew he was the perfect one. It was great … We worked together as partners until he ended up moving to Michigan in the nineties. We developed at Green Acres School, and then ended up developing Life Lab into a national program, its own nonprofit organization. Gary was key in that.