Life Lab

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

Join our Santa Cruz Area School Garden Google Group

Life Lab is national non-profit with local roots. Here’s some ways our organization works with and support local school gardening. Join our network by joining the Santa Cruz County School Gardeners Google Group

Tell us About Your Garden / Connect with Other Area Garden Teachers

Fill out this form to share about  your garden

See who has shared and look for times to connect with a garden teacher at their garden

Garden Classroom Workshops – Substantial Discounts for County Educators

Since the early 1980’s Life Lab has inspired tens of thousands of educators through garden-based training. Each year we offer 10 or more days of training at our Garden Classroom on the UCSC Farm and another 25 days across the state and nation

Santa Cruz County public school teachers, instructional aides, and after-school staff are eligible to attend Life Lab Garden Classroom Workshops at the following rates:

  • $60 for one-day workshops (normally early reg $200)
  • $120 for two-day workshops (normally early reg $400)

Workshops include a Life Lab publication, a tasty lunch by our Healthy School Partner Charlie Hong Kong, and the opportunity to learn with garden-educators from across the nation.  Continual education credit is available for $80 per unit per day.

Santa Cruz County Public School Educators email us to learn more about reduced rate registration!


Santa Cruz County Area Garden Educator Gatherings

Upcoming Gatherings:

Spring 2020 Gathering TBA

July 8-11, 2020 – American Horticulture Societies National Children and Youth Garden Symposium at the UCSC and the Life Lab Garden Classroom

Past Gatherings:

  • Networking Dinner & Mini-Conference Thursday, January 23, 2020 
  • Wednesday March 20th, 2019 2:45-4:45


Join our Santa Cruz County School Gardeners Google Group
A place to share resources, ask questions and hear about announcements like jobs, grants and plant donations.


Free Seeds and Plants 

Renee’s Garden Seeds provides Life Lab with loads of end of season seeds to give away to garden educators. Come to a networking meeting or visit our office on the UCSC Farm to grab a bunch.

For years the UCSC Farm gives away thousands of annual (and sometimes perennial) plants at the end of their annual spring plant sales. Come on Sunday of the plant sale at 1:30 with a donation appreciation letter from your school. Plants are given away at the end of the plant sale at 2:00. 

The UCSC Farm has an adoption table next to the greenhouse where “extra” annual veggies are given away.

Join our forum to receive announcements about free plants.


Life Lab Partner Schools

Life Lab partners with 7 schools in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District to bring garden-based science lessons and classroom cooking. Learn more about Life Lab Partner Schools



More to Come…

In the months to come we be creating a Santa Cruz County School Gardens needs assessment survey.


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Life Lab 40th
Life Lab’s 40th Gala – Sunday, October 13th  Celebrate 40 years of bringing learning to life in gardens. Learn more  
Life Lab's 40th Gala
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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