Teaching people to care for themselves, each other, and the world through farm- and garden-based programs.

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Gardens and farms are rich environments for the transformative experience of hands-on learning. Nature poses questions in abundance, opening young minds to inquiry and scientific process, and fills all of our senses to inspire language development and artistic endeavors. Gardens offer plentiful opportunities for real-word math and problem solving, along with communication and cooperation. Working with plants vastly increases children’s openness to eating fresh produce, too, a critically important catalyst for the formation of lifelong habits of nutrition and health. There is also quiet calm amid the life of the garden, and the deeply affecting opportunity to nurture other living beings, nurturing ourselves in the process.

Life Lab is a national leader in garden-based learning and youth empowerment. With over 30 years of experience, we use our model Garden Classroom as a living lab for local pre-K through 12th grade students, for training teachers, and for advancing hands-on environmental, science and nutrition education programs and curricula. We also provide professional development, networking and program support to garden-based educators across the nation.

Our programs reach more than 4,000 local students and 1,000 teachers here and across the U.S. each year through:

  • Field trips and day camps for pre-K through middle school students;
  • Our “Food, What?!” youth empowerment and food justice program for teens;
  • An undergraduate internship program training future experiential education leaders; and
  • Professional development workshops, mentoring, and curriculum for educators.

Life Lab teacher training and curriculum impacts more than 30,000 students annually, as well, through the programs and lessons that educators share with their students.

As early pioneers in garden-based learning and hands-on science inquiry, Life Lab has developed extensive networks with providers and practitioners around the U.S. We use our experience and relationships to play a leading role in the movements for garden-based learning, youth empowerment, children’s health and nutrition, and science education. Our “Food, What?!” team and youth alumni have played key roles in the Rooted In Community collaborative of youth food justice programs across the U.S. Life Lab cofounded the National School Garden Network in 2013 and facilitates the California School Garden Network, as well as smaller regional collaborations. We partner with the California Alliance with Family Farmers to host California FoodCorps, a statewide service program focused on school gardens and food systems and nutrition education. In addition, Life Lab staff provides national training for FoodCorps service members from more than 15 states, and we are excited to partner with FoodCorps to grow this program nationally.

Additional Resources:

Curriculum, Common Core in the Garden, and informal learning resources:

Professional development opportunities:

Food, What?! youth empowerment program

National School Garden Network

FoodCorps

Life Lab Elementary

Life Lab Elementary

Life Lab Elementary

Life Lab Food What

Life Lab girl with tomato

Life Lab Food What