Life Lab

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

Sustaining Your School Garden – Taken from The Life Lab Garden Times, Spring 2002

Most people connected to schools realize that change is a given. Administrators, staff, teachers, parents and students eventually move on. This can be a challenge for maintaining and sustaining a school garden project over time, particularly if the garden is the special project of just a few people. At Life Lab, we have worked with many schools who have made the Life Lab garden key part of the school over many years, and others where the gardens have come and gone. Generally, gardens that are successful involve the entire school community. Here are some tips to keep your garden program thriving for the long haul.

Form a steering committee for the garden program. This committee will help make short- and long-range plans for the garden, to ensure that it is properly funded, maintained and used by the school community. The steering committee should be made up of teachers, parents, administrators, students and staff. Getting the school custodian to join is a big plus. The steering committee should hold regular meetings throughout the year.

Develop a vision for your school garden. What ultimately do you want it to be? What is its purpose? How will it connect to curriculum? How will it be used daily by students and staff? What will it look like in 3-5 years? How will you get there? Share this vision with the school community and begin to plan out the steps for achieving it.

Encourage a team of parents to participate as volunteers. Recruit parents of younger children who will stay in the school for several years. Volunteers can help teachers gather materials and teach garden lessons in small groups. They can also assist with general garden maintenance, fundraising and ordering supplies.

Inform the school community about the value of the garden. Hold celebrations, volunteer recognition parties and other events in the garden frequently. This gives the teachers a valuable opportunity to showcase student work inspired by the living laboratory of the school garden. Be sure to invite school board members and local politicians.

View resources for starting a school garden.

Oh yeah and money can't hurt either. View the Fund tab at www.csgn.org for funding ideas.

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More from our Sowing the Seeds of Wonder workshop: making Garden journals and gazing out over our edible flowers 🌻 @ Life Lab See MoreSee Less

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More photos from our 2-day Sowing the Seeds of Wonder workshop from this past weekend… Seed exploration, mud pies… #ssow #sowingtheseedsofwonder #lifelab @ Life Lab See MoreSee Less

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We hosted a fabulous Sowing the Seeds of Wonder Early Childhood Education workshop here in our Garden Classroom! We designed our own garden on a cracker, made Garden Creatures out of natural materials and so much more! #ssow #lifelab #lifelabgardenclassroom #gardenclassroom @ Life Lab See MoreSee Less

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Those fall colors popping up around the garden. #gardeneducation #lifelab @ Life Lab See MoreSee Less

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We couldn’t do the work we do without partners like FoodCorps!

FoodCorps service members in Pajaro Valley Schools are changing eating habits and connecting kids with nature!

Watch this video and be inspired to make change too. Donate here today: bit.ly/2NzedVA

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Hear from kids and adults in FoodCorps partner schools in California, Georgia, and New York about how FoodCorps service has helped transform their cafeterias and classrooms. See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

We’re headed into the 3 day weekend with a basket of veggies. What late summer veggies are growing in your garden? See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Ruby Wargnier

A great message for the renewal of plant life the rewards of sustainability for lives to follow. See MoreSee Less

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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