Life Lab

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

SGSO Leadership Institute 2020

January 19, 2020 at 4pm – January 24  Mission Springs Retreat Center, Scotts Valley, CA

Directions: The Conference Center is at Mission Springs 1050 Lockhart Gulch Road, Scotts Valley, 95066 Map It / Driving Directions
Enter at the second driveway, park, leave your stuff in your car, and check in at the Tabernacle Room.


View 2020 SGSO Leadership Institute Agenda
Highlighted sections note where participants and organizations will be sharing.

We will provide you with a printed copy of the agenda.


SGSO Institute Participant Hub

Helpful Links

Directions: The Conference Center is at Mission Springs 1050 Lockhart Gulch Road, Scotts Valley, 95066 Map It / Driving Directions
Enter at the second driveway, park, leave your stuff in your car, and check in at the Tabernacle Room.

SGSO Best Practices Documents  SGSO Key Activity Resource Summary Documents created at past SGSO Leadership Institute Organizations

SGSO Key Activity PUBLIC SGSO Resource Folders  Collection of resources shared by past SGSO Leadership Institute Organizations

Upload Shorts (20 Minute Talks) and Lighting Talks (5 Minute Talks) In this Google Drive Folder, or give your presentation to John by Wednesday Afternoon

SGSO Archived and Upcoming Webinars

SGSO Online Forum Browse by SGSO Key Activity or use search box for key terms –  more about the SGSO Leadership Institute and view details from past institutes.

Local Area Information: Learn more about Santa Cruz. We will be staying at Mission Springs Conference Center, which is a pretty rustic retreat center in the redwood forest in Scotts Valley, about 15 minutes outside of Santa Cruz. View their Guest Information Brochure.

Connecting on Social Media: If you’re on social media, get your fingers ready! Use #sgso2020 to tag your posts:

Copy and paste social media handles from those that shared theirs on the bottom of this page.


2020 Institute Organization Program Images in this Google Photo Album (by clicking Join button on left side). We’ll use them to make a rolling slideshow to play at the Institute.

Prepare a Short Organizational Bio Come to the Institute prepared to give a 2-3 minute verbal presentation (no Powerpoint) on how your organization supports garden-based learning in schools. All 24 organizations will be doing this so we challenge you to think of a create or innovative way to share your 3 minutes. We’d like you to share:

    • Where you work and the populations you serve

    • The total number of school garden support staff in your organization

    • How many schools your organization supports

    • How your organization specifically supports the delivery of garden-based education (e.g. We teach weekly science lessons to K-2 students; we train teachers in garden-based science; we build gardens and provide technical assistance; we fund schools via a grant program; we provide networking opportunities for school garden educators, etc.)


Items to Pack

  • Attire for changing weather. At this time of year, we often have daytime temps in the 50s or 60s and evenings in the low 40s. Check the forecast before you come. Rain is definitely possible.
  • Sun hat and good walking shoes for the garden and redwood forest
  • Sunscreen
  • Water Bottle and Reusable Mug
  • Laptop computer, if you have one – We will be creating documents using google docs (wifi will be available in some areas of the conference center)
  • Appropriate chargers for your devices
  • Note-taking supplies
  • Personal toiletries


2020 Invited Organizations

View detailed Organizational Bios

Organization                 # of Gardens

Living Classroom 30 Non-Profit Mountain View CA
COPE ~ Community Outreach, Patient Empowerment & First Nations Development Institute 20 Non-Profit Navajo Nation
New Mexico, Arizona & Utah
Common Vision 30 Non-Profit East Bay, CA California
FRESHFARM FoodPrints 15 Non-Profit Washington, DC DC
New Britain ROOTS, Inc 10 Non-Profit New Britain Connecticut
School Garden Network Foundation 86 Non-Profit Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Healdsburg CA
PEAS – Partners for Education Agriculture and Sustainability 19 Non-Profit Austin Texas
Jones Valley Teaching Farm 7 Non-Profit Birmingham, AL Alabama
The Environmental Center 16 Non-Profit Bend, Sunriver, Redmond Oregon
Gallatin Valley Farm to School 8 Non-Profit Bozeman MT
Crim Fitness Foundation 11 Non-Profit Flint Michigan
Multi Regional/State/National
National Wildlife Federation – SYH program 8500 Non-Profit national national
American Heart Association 500 Non-Profit National Organization
 in 35 states with strong presence in California
Sage Garden Project 50 Philanthropic Organization Encinitas CA
L.A. Farm to School Network, Center for Community Food & Resilience, Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College 50 Non-Profit, College, University, Cooperative Extension Los Angeles California
Michigan State University Extension 68 College, University, Cooperative Extension Metro Detroit, Michigan Michigan
Pima County Cooperative Extension: The Garden Kitchen 19 Non-Profit, College, University, Cooperative Extension Pima county Arizona
School District Entities
Ann Arbor Public Schools – Farm to School Collaborative 25 School District Entity Ann Arbor Michigan
Baltimore City Public Schools 40 School District Entity Baltimore MD
Richardson ISD 21 School District Entity Richardson, Dallas, Garland TX
Cartwright School District 11 School District Entity Phoenix Arizona


Copy and Paste Participating Organizations Social Media Handles





@A2RecDirect @ShahBurnsPark

@swilsonteacher @RISDElemSci





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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.
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