Life Lab

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

Category : Life Lab Programs

Webinar and Curriculum – The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health

  NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project webinar The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health presented by Jessica Handy, Education Coordinator for Kiss the Ground, and Whitney Cohen, Education Director of [...]

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plante stewards


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 Installation / [...]

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kids in the garden


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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teens in the garden


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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kids in the garden with chicken


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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garden classroom


2014 Summer Camp Highlights!

View Photos from the 2014 Camp Season Aahhh, summer.... The season of summer day camp; when Life Lab rings with the sound of children's laughter, the sun shines down on the heads of kids playing games in the meadow, and every child lifts up a cup of a delicious gree [...]

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We’re Changing the Nature of Education

View Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen's inspiring description of how Life Lab is changing the nature of education to the audience of our 2014 Benefit Brunch. Please consider supporting Life Lab's work. Make a donation today. [...]

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changing the nature education


1,700+ Educators Trained in California School Garden Training Program

The California School Garden Training Program (CSGT) trained 1,729 educators from 2012- June, 2014. It includes workshops on Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) and Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (GENE). CSGT also conducts Train-the-Trainer Works [...]

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The Danes Are Here

We have been having a great time showing visitors from Denmark some of the best farm to school and school garden programs in the region. The Danish study tour group, organized by Life Lab, is composed of eighteen government ministers, university faculty and graduate stu [...]

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EdWeb’s Growing School Gardens Online Community and Webinars

LIfe Lab is a proud partner of EdWeb's online community and a contributor to their school garden webinars. Join the community and online forum at Ed Web View archives of webinars by Life Lab Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigatio [...]

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Fall 2013 Newsletter

View our September 2013 Newsletter View newsletter archives Program Updates Meet Faith - Support our Work  Summer Accomplishments Announcing the National School Garden Network The Top Ten of Farm- and Garden-Based Education Garden Tips and Educator Re [...]

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Day Camp Registration Open

Spring Break Camp for 4-6 year olds Wildlands & Watering Cans Summer Day Camp for 7-10 year olds  Garden Sprouts Camp Summer Day Camp for 4-6 year olds  Farm & Wilderness Summer Day Camp for 11-14 year olds More info. at www.lifelab.org/cam [...]

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December 2012 Life Lab Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our December 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Planting Fruits Trees and Vines in School Gardens Sustaining School Gardens - Funding Garden Coordinators Book Review: Our School Garden! Recipe: H [...]

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California FoodCorps

FoodCorps California, managed by Co-Host Sites Life Lab and the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, has selected ten organizations to place twelve service corps members across the state in 2013-2014.  Visit the California FoodCorps Page. www.facebook.com/FoodC [...]

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“Food, What?!” Youth Maya Salsedo is named as Brower Youth Awardee

We are pleased to share that Maya Salsedo, one of our first FoodWhat youth participants from 2007, was chosen from hundreds to receive the 2012 Brower Youth Awardees. Maya was selected for her work empowering youth with tools to advocate for a just food system. See muc [...]

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Summer 2012 Newsletter

  You don't want to miss our Summer 2012 Newsletter. In This Issue Garden Tips and Educator Resources Seed Saving Resources and Video Growing Questions - Inquiry in the Garden Teaching at a Farmer's Market Recipes: Zucchini Baba Ganoush and More Disc [...]

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Introducing the California School Garden Training Program

Life Lab, along with organizational partners from the UC Davis Childrens' Garden Program and the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego, will train 1,500 educators, volunteers, parents and school garden support professionals throughout the state of Cali [...]

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2011 Program Highlights

It has been another successful season of growth, learning and wonder for Life Lab and the thousands of kids, youth, families, teachers and schools we serve. Hear what our program participants had to say about our work in in our 2011 Highlights flier. 2011 by [...]

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Shared Adventures

Life Lab partnered with Shared Adventures, a local nonprofit which organizes recreation activities for people with special needs, to host an inclusive Farm-to-Fork Field Trip for 14 adults and 2 children from the special needs community. View the photos. Despite mobilit [...]

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Life Lab’s Online Auction

Going Once, Going Twice.... Sold to Support Life Lab Programs! Life Lab's Online Auction Closed on November 20th. Thanks to those who supported us. www.lifelab.org/auction 60+ unique experiences and products to browse! Get a jump on your holiday shopping [...]

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My 3,436 Mile Journey to Life Lab – Reflections from Intern Callia Wolfe

It is not often that we have graduate level interns, who have classroom experience, and are proficient with a video camera and editing. We lucked out! Callia Wolfe shares a bit about her path to finding us and her experience at the Garden Classroom. Callia writes.... I [...]

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Meet Our Chickens

The hardest working staff at the Garden Classroom are our hens. Us humans go home at the end of the day and these girls, and one boy, watch over the garden 24/7, 365 days a year. During the day you can check in on them at their water dish web cam. You might be lucky eno [...]

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400 Interns and Counting – Working with Interns at The Garden Classroom

Tips for running an internship program Life Lab Internships Engaging University Students in Local School Gardens: A Toolkit for School Districts, School Garden Support Organizations and Universities 400 Interns and Counting – Working with Interns at The Gar [...]

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Camp Chicks!, Photos, and Recipes

Day Camps 2011 Click to View Album Our summer day camps are coming to a close. Foggy mornings and sunny afternoons have framed great days of exploration, harvest, cooking, crafts, farm chores, and fresh-fruit-pop-sucking-story-time. Two chi [...]

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“Food, What?!” July Photo-of-the-Month

Our summer youth program, "Food, What?!" hosted 100+ visitors for our annual youth day. The July Photo-of-the-Month features shots from the event. Check out more "Food, What?!" Photo-of-the-Months [...]

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Our Vision in Action

When we started planning the Garden Classroom, a bit over ten years ago, we envisioned days like this one. We have many days like this throughout the year, but on May 20th I kept my camera on hand as I worked with a group of community leaders from Mexico and Central Ame [...]

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Santa Cruz Weekly ~ “Food, What?!” Strawberry Blast Serves Hundreds of Teens

The Life Lab Garden Classroom and UCSC Farm played host to hundreds of Santa Cruz Teens during the "Food, What?!" Strawberry Blast. The local press was there to cover the event: Santa Cruz Weekly Strawberry Blast An Eye-Opener for Students had this to say: H [...]

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The Eddy ~ “Food, What?!” Wins Eddy Award

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation's Eddy Wellness Award was presented to Food, What on May 3, 2011. The Eddy Awards recognize excellence in education. Congrats to our five year old program that has gone from serving 5 kids in 2007 to 54 students this year! &ldqu [...]

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Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Director Honored with a Nextie Award

Santa Cruz NEXT is committed to providing a fun, hip and diverse environment to discuss issues affecting the next generation of our community. They highlight and promote access to and development of economic, social and cultural opportunities, and are a catalyst for con [...]

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Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Youth Able John Highlighted

In the December 15th cover story "Smells Like Teen Spirit" of the GoodTimes, Food, What youth participant Able John was highlighted along with 5 other inspiring youth. Able states: “I remember being really small and not liking vegetables very much, but m [...]

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Good Times ~ From Field to Able – “Food, What?!” Youth Program

A nice article from The GoodTimes 11.2.2010 The Youth Crew at Food, What?! mixes farming-based curriculum with personal, business, community and networking skills Since 1979 Santa Cruz’s nonprofit Life Lab organization has built a fine boutique of garden-based [...]

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English Language Development Bears Fruit in School Gardens

Life Lab's Language Acquisition and Science Education in Rural Schools (LASERS)  program showed the positive links between language development and hands-on science using the Life Lab Science curriculum. This theme was recently revisited by the National Gardening As [...]

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Santa Cruz Sentinel ~ Strawberries are a Blast

"Food,What?!" Strawberry Youth Blast coverage from the Santa Cruz Sentinel -- All things strawberry were the focus at the UCSC Farm and Garden Wednesday, as 300 county high and middle school students joined volunteers from Food, What?! for the 2010 Strawberry [...]

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Life Lab’s Oral History

Four key figures in Life Lab's history have been documented as part of UCSC's Cultivating a Movement: An Oral History Series on Sustainable Agriculture and Organic Farming on California's Central Coast.   This oral history project conducted by the Regional Oral Hi [...]

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“Food, What?!” Youth Program

Eco Company TV created this video on Life Lab's Spring Afterschool Internship. It aired across the nation on over 100 TV stations. Check out more at Eco Company http://www.eco-company.tv/tvshow/episode-102-organic-growingMore on "Food,What?!" [...]

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30th Anniversary Year In Review

Our 30th year of brining learning to life in a garden was celebrated with many special events. Thanks to all who celebrated with us.Our School Garden Video Contest had 18 entries, see the winner here.Birthday Essay Series: The Garden: A Master Teacher was written by a [...]

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“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest in the Sentinel

The Santa Cruz Sentinel covered our largest youth Harvest Fest to date.The article "A field trip to chew on: teens run organic food festival"quotes this student participant:Lorraine Medina talks fast and waves her arms when you ask her about vegetables."Chard and kale. [...]

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“Food, What?!” on National TV!

Eco Company TV created this video on our "Food, What?!" Spring Afterschool Internship. It aired across the nation on over 100 TV stations.http://www.eco-company.tv/tvshow/episode-102-organic-growing [...]

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2009 ~ Life Lab Turns 30

For 30 years Life Lab Science Program has been helping students and educators "Watch learning come to life in a garden". Life Lab has trained tens of thousands of educators in over 40 states. We have directly served over 35,000 students in garden-based science, n [...]

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“Food, What?!” Harvest Fest on KSBW News

KSBW TV News was on hand at our 2008 Harvest Fest that served hundreds of Middle and High School Students from Santa Cruz County. Check out their news report and how the reporters were trying to get the right inflection on the words "FOOOOD.....WHHAT!!!??!!!"See fe [...]

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6 days ago

Life Lab

🌱Moment of the Month🌱

Life Lab Summer Camps are always a beautiful and nurturing way to share the interconnections of nature with children. Although our campers could not join us in the Life Lab Garden Classroom this summer, we wanted to make it possible for them to have fun at home! So our camp team assembled Summer Activity Care Packages full of materials, recipes, and advice for 225 children who had already registered for camp. They then carefully and lovingly hand delivered them to each family, occasionally getting to say Hi! from a safe distance, too.

"Thank you so much!! I have tears in my eyes. Thank you for pooling your ideas together for non-screen fun and learning opportunities. We can’t wait to dive in!
With much gratitude,"
Ellie

We are grateful to each and every camp family for their kindness, generosity, and patience as we all navigated the new realities of this year. As a community, the camp families even donated more than $12,000 of their camp fees towards ensuring that Life Lab will continue cultivating children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education during this challenging time.

While we cannot deliver care packages to everyone in our broader Life Lab community, we hope that our growing BackPocketLearning.org website will help families seeking simple, fun, nature based activities and healthy family recipes to enjoy together at home this summer!🌈🐝🌻🌞

#lifelabmomentofthemonth #mylifelab #lifelab #summercamp #summerfun #gardenbasededucation #gardenlife #garden See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

Our “Share Your Garden Saturday” video series continues with a sweet share from Emma Christie in the Life Lab garden at Starlight Elementary School in Watsonville🌸#shareyourgaredLL #school gardens PVUSD Food & Nutrition Services #LifeLab AmeriCorps See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

In love with our @reneesgardenseeds flowers❤️thank you Renee for years of support & providing seeds for Life Lab gardens. We appreciate you! #reneesgardenseeds #lifelab #outdooreducation #gardensofgratitude #schoolgardens See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

“Education is a practice of Freedom” #emancipation #juneteenth #americanhistory #blackhistory #teachablemoments See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Happy National Eat Your Veggies Day!😋🥕

To celebrate today we wanted to share some of our impacts this past school year. In our seven PVUSD Partner Elementary Schools, 98% of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd teachers reported that the Fall 2019 NGSS in the Garden programs improved their 1,900 students’ attitudes towards fresh fruits and vegetables, their emotional well-being, and their connection with nature.

Our Kids Cook presentation brought exciting hands-on cooking and healthy eating to more than 1,500 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at these schools, too, in January, February and March. In tastings surveys 72% of the children reported liking or loving the fresh, healthful foods they ate, with 63% said they were trying a new fresh produce item for the first time.

278 second-graders from our partner schools enjoyed hands-on learning in field trips to our Blooming Classroom this school year. 59% reported tasting new healthy food items for the first time in lesson-based tastings, and 70% said they loved or liked what they tasted.

We would also like to remind you to eat a rainbow 🌈🥗

A diverse and colorful diet nourishes a strong and healthy body. All fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. In addition, they contain phytonutrients, which give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors and also play a wide range of roles in keeping our bodies healthy.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors for making this work possible. @sagegardenproject @pvhealth @pajarovalleyusd
@unfi @foodcorps

#eatyourveggies #EatYourVegetablesDay #mylifelab #vegetables See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Life Lab Stands With Black Lives.

The injustice of systemic racism must end. Our work at Life Lab to foster empathy, love and inclusion with the children who are the next generation will continue, and it is no longer enough. This painful moment is an opportunity and a catalyst for us to take the next steps to more purposefully weave antiracist learning into all that we do.

This is a time of active learning for us, as we listen and dig deeper into Life Lab’s part in historical and present-day oppression. We see opportunities to provide foundational antiracist lessons and experiences more intentionally throughout our curriculum and programs, joining with others who are on this path.

There are seeds of hope in this moment that we can nurture in garden classrooms. Our work with children, educators and schools can motivate actions, large and small, individual and collective, to help create real change for a more just society.

Black lives matter, and Life Lab commits to countering racism through education and love.

We know this process will include learning, unlearning and relearning. We welcome this collaborative work, and we will report back to you on our progress.

~ The Life Lab Team See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🥕Meet Cara, our Garden Programs Manager!🥕

Cara began her current position at Life Lab in 2014, but has worked with Life Lab in a variety of roles since 2007. While going to school at the University of California Santa Cruz, she found her calling to be an outdoor educator while interning at Life Lab in the field trip teaching program. Graduating from UCSC with a B.A in Environmental Studies and a minor in Anthropology, Cara brings 12 years of education experience to her position, specializing in environmental education and professional development for beginning educators. Growing up in Chicago, she jumped on opportunities to volunteer and work at learning institutions, such as the Evanston Ecology Center and the Field Museum of Chicago. Cara moved to Santa Cruz in 2003 and loves living in a community that appreciates healthy living, eating well, and the natural world. When she is not hard at work, she is hard at play, hiking, dancing, cooking, traveling and doing yoga.🥘🌎😁 See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Our “Share Your Garden Saturday” video series continues with a sweet share from Abby Hauth at the Life Lab garden at MacQuiddy Elementary🌸 #shareyourgardenLL #schoolgardens #lifelab @foodcorps @pvusdschoolfood See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Eat a Rainbow this Memorial weekend! Fruits & veggies provide nutrients essential for good health 🌈🥗💪🏽 #chard #carrots #schoolgardens #lifelab #eatarainbow #nutrition #gardeneducation #teachtheyouth See MoreSee Less

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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
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