Life Lab

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

Pacific Elementary School GardenAudience

Anyone interested or involved in school food and/or school gardens

Cost

$150/$180 includes Food Lab Lunch

See upcoming dates at our tour and workshop registration page

Description

The Santa Cruz area is home to some of the most impressive and long standing school garden programs in the nation.

Possible Tour Stops:

Westlake Elementary School
Pacific Elementary School FoodLab
Pacific Elementary School Gardens
Bonny Doon Elementary School Garden, Orchard, Hen House, and Science/Nutrition Lab
Gault School Garden and Nutrition Education Program

The tour will be lead by John Fisher of Life Lab. John is a Life Lab Trainer, and a school garden parent volunteer. He has been leading school garden tours of the Monterey Bay Area since 2007, and brings much enthusiasm and a desire to share his experiences with others involved in garden-based education.

Key Tour Components

Learn …

* School garden design principles

* Best practices from the garden coordinators at 4 stellar, longstanding school garden programs

* How the students at one elementary school participate in cooking healthy school lunches every day and how one district has revamped their meal program.

Discuss …

* How people in Santa Cruz and across the nation are using gardening and cooking to bring academic learning to life; increase environmental literacy; inspire healthy eating; and support social/emotional growth in their students

* Challenges and triumphs in the effort to change school food

 

Participant Comments

If you are interested in creating, improving, or learning new ideas about school gardens, this is the tour for you.

As a long-time school garden educator, it’s so useful to “cross-pollinate” every once in a while. This tour was a great way to get an in-depth (but quick) glimpse into the workings of 4 different, but inspiring school garden programs.

New school gardeners or seasoned pros will benefit from this tour. Prepare yourself for an exciting opportunity to see well defined, organized school gardens and cafeteria food service improvements. Don’t forget a camera, pen and paper. You will want to take notes and pictures so you don’t forget all the great ideas to apply to your own program.

The tour was a great experience and would be beneficial to anyone and everyone. It gave a wide perspective on not only garden-based education in schools, but also how such education translates to healthy food access in cafeterias.

This tour was a great way to experience the diversity of challenges communities face when seeking nutritional change for kids. It is also informative and inspiring to learn how communities overcome great obstacles to move forward and truly connect kids with healthy food .

Any garden educator, teacher, or anyone simply interested in school gardens and nutrition enhancement, should come to these workshops. They have endless resources. The ability to network with individuals with different experience levels is also a big PLUS.

Past year’s tour stops:

Westlake Elementary School Garden is a well-kept site with an active greenhouse, composting systems, friendly hens, fruit trees and veggies. Jane Forbes, their long time garden coordinator, was instrumental in securing district funding for all four Santa Cruz elementary school garden coordinators.

View a video of Jane teaching a compost lesson in her garden.

Pacific Elementary School is run by classroom teachers, parents and community volunteers. Six of their garden beds are dedicated to the production of greens that are incorporated in to their Food Lab school meal program. In addition to viewing the K-6 garden, we will also take a peek at the preschool garden onsite.

During our visit, we will have the opportunity to observe Food Lab students preparing a nutritious and delicious school lunch, which we will share.
View videos and press related to Pacific School Food Lab and Life Lab at their garden website.

DeLaveaga Elementary School is one of four gardens with a district funded garden coordinator. This long standing, large garden is ran by Kim Gal a past Life Lab intern and garden-nutrition educator.

Live Oak School District School Food Service has re-envisioned their school meal program by constructing a new central kitchen that works to incorporate more scratch cooking. We will meet with Rachel Otis, director of Child Nutrition for the district. Read more about LOSD Food Service.

 

View all scheduled upcoming Garden Classroom workshops/tours

All workshops and tours require advanced registration and deposit.

To set up a workshop for your school site, please call Life Lab at (831) 459-3833 or email us at education@lifelab.org.

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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

Timeline Photos See MoreSee Less

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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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