Life Lab

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

New Edition of The Growing Classroom!

A brand new edition of our most popular garden and nutrition activity guide is hot off the presses! The 4th Edition of The Growing Classroom includes new and updated hands-on activities to bring learning to life for elementary school students. There is a new chapter [...]

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2012 ~ Family Gardening Book

Order Now View front and back cover [...]

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2011 ~ City of Santa Cruz Declares May 1, 20ll “Garden Classroom Day”

Santa Cruz City Council Member David Terrazas surprised us all at our May Day Benefit Brunch by declaring the day Garden Classroom Day in the City of Santa Cruz. The resolution was officially proclaimed at the May 10 city council meeting. View the Mayor's Proclamation [...]

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Life Lab’s Oral History

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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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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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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2007 ~ The Growing Classroom New Edition!

This new edition of The Growing Classroom is pulished by our friends at the National Gardening Association and help to bring a fresh look and needed revisions to one of the be garden-based learning publications in print. [...]

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CDE Regional Garden Education Center

2006 ~ Garden Classroom Selected as CDE Regional Training Center

In collaboration with the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems the Garden Classroom is selected to serve as the Central Coast Garden-Based Learning Resource Center. The resource center provides free workshops and consulting to school garden programs [...]

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Life Lab in the News 2005-2007

View press from the Salinas Californian, Watsonville Register - Pajaronian, and more. Press 2005-2007 Click album to view and zoom articles. [...]

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Life Lab in the News 2000-2004

Press 2000-2004 Click to view and zoom articles [...]

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Life Lab Garden Store

2001 ~ Field to Market to You

New Leaf Community Markets and Life Lab team up to create a new program called Field-To-Market-To-You. For three years this food systems education program visited classrooms and followed up with a field trip to a grocery store. Students learned about local agricultural [...]

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Garden Classroom 2007

2000 ~ The Garden Classroom: Life Lab’s Model Educational Garden

In 2000 construction begins for the latest chapter in Life Lab's history. In collaboration with the UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) The Garden Classroom annually serves thousands of pre-schoolers through adults in garden-based learning a [...]

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2000 ~ The Monterey Bay Science Project

The National Science Foundation Grant which funded the Language Acquisition in Science Education at Rural Schools comes to and end but LASERS continues to thrive through the Monterey Bay Science Project (MBSP). Life Lab becomes a MBSP host site and receives funding thro [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1995-1999

View press from the San Francisco Chronicle, Monterey Herald. Santa Cruz Sentinel, San Jose Mercury, and more. Press 1995-1999 Click to view and zoom articles. [...]

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Garden in Every School

1997 ~ A Garden in Every School

Delaine Eastin the Superintendent of Public Instruction of California Schools declares there should be a garden in every school. Life Lab attends the Garden in Every School Conference. Life Lab writes Getting Started: A Guide for Creating School Gardens which is publ [...]

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1997 ~ Resource Conservation Program – Waste Free Schools

Life Lab teams up with the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, the County of Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz, Waste Management and Ecology Action to create the Resource Conservation Project (later known as Waste Free Schools). Life Lab works with students, teac [...]

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1995 ~ LASERS

The National Science Foundation funds Life Lab, from 1995-2001 in the Language Acquisition in Science Education at Rural Schools (LASERS) project. Life Lab starts working with 7 school districts to improve science teaching practices for second language learners. UCSC pa [...]

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4th Grade LLS

1994 ~ 4th-5th Grade Science Curriculum

Videodiscovery publishes 4th and 5th grade Life Lab Science Curriculum. [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1990-1994

View press from the Columbus Dispatch, Santa Cruz Sentinel, and more. Press 1990-1994   Click to view and zoom articles.   [...]

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1992 ~ Life Lab Science Curriculum

Videodiscovery publishes Kindergarten - Third grade science curriculum. This curriculum is disseminated throughout the country training 10s of thousands of educators. < --Life Lab Science Laser Disc Cover [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1985-1989

View press from USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Modesto Bee, and more. Press 1985-1989 Click to view and zoom all 29 articles. [...]

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Life Lab Across the USA

1987 ~ Great Expansion

Going Nationwide and Beyond The United States Department of Education funds Life Lab to disseminate throughout the nation from 1987-1992! The project called the National Diffusion Network sends Life Lab Staff to 38 states Guam and Costa Rica. National Science Founda [...]

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1986 ~ Life Lab Video

The following 14 minute video is a great summary of the impact that Life Lab Science Program has on schools. The power of school gardens has not changed much since 1986, but you will notice that hairstyles and clothing do! Are you one of the people in this video? Add a [...]

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1986 ~ The Growing Classroom Goes National

Addison-Wesley and Life Lab enter into a publishing agreement. The Growing Classroom is promoted and sold across the country. [...]

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Life Lab in the News 1979-1984

Press 1979-1984 Click to view and zoom articles [...]

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1984 ~ Statewide Dissemintation

The California Department of Education funds statewide dissemination of garden-based learning to 10 schools. Friends of the Harvest moves to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education and officially changes names to Life Lab Science Program.   [...]

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1982 ~ The Growing Classroom: Garden-Based Science and Nutrition Curriculum

Life Lab self publishes the first version of The Growing Classroom Activity Guide and creates workshops which are conducted for 10 schools in Santa Cruz County. Life Lab garners its first science award, The WSTA Center of Excellence. Staff start attending regional a [...]

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1979 ~ Life Lab Becomes a Non-Profit

Originally Life Lab was called Friends of the Harvest, a non-profit formed to support community programming. Around this time Gary Appel, co-founder of Life Lab was hired with Title IV C grant funding. An excerpt from the oral history of Robbie Jaffe: He [Gary] cam [...]

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1978 ~ Green Acres School – Life Lab Blossoms

  Early days at Green Acres Green Acres in 1978 and 1982 Life Lab project started at Green Acres School in Live Oak, California in 1978. Life Lab teachers transform a vacant lot into a thriving garden. They start developing curriculum ba [...]

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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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