Life Lab

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

Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Selected for Good Times Community Fund

Good Times ~ “Food, What?!” Selected for Good Times Community Fund

Our "Food, What?!" Youth Program was selected as one of four programs in the Good Times Community Fund. We have the goal to raise $12,500 through the Good Times Community Fund.  Right now, every dollar donated will be matched.  Please Consider a Year [...]

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

“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

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

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 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

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

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

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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Santa Cruz Sentinel ~ Strawberries are a Blast

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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“Food, What?!” Youth Program

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

“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!

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

“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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“Food, What?!” Strawberry Blast

“Food, What?!” Strawberry Blast

Taken from the Santa Cruz Sentinel Article "County students dig in at 'Strawberry Blast"":Nearly 100 students from across the county traveled to the UC Santa Cruz Farm and Garden Friday to learn about the social benefits and epicurean delights of fresh, organic and loca [...]

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2007 ~ Food, What?! ~ A Youth Empowerment Program

From the early days of the Garden Classroom there were always visions of offering programming for teens. "Food, What?!" has fulfilled that vision: "FOOD, WHAT?!" is a youth empowerment program using food, through sustainable agriculture and health, as the vehic [...]

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7 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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