Lessons, educational garden tips, upcoming events, grant resources, program updates, and more in this issue of the Life Lab Garden Times.
Life Lab Newsletter - Spring 2012
The Human Sundial is one of the favorite interpretive sites in The Garden Classroom. Both adults and children enjoy standing on the appropriate month marker and seeing their shadows cast the time. If you are planning to make a human sundial be sure to check out the new resource from Solar School House they are searching for pilot test sites to try our their sundial calculator. Visit our Human Sundial Page where we share many resources to make your own sun clock.

Edible Crop Planning

Edible Crop Plans - Salsa Garden
For those new to gardening, planning for an edible harvest during the school year is sometimes easier said than done. Learn the basics of annual crop planning and view some newer planting guide resources at our Planning Annual Vegetable Crops page. Also look for our edible theme crop planning calendar.

Recipe - Kale Salad

Serves 10
4 bunches red russian kale
2/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 T. olive oil
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. dijon mustard
1/2 t. maple syrup
1/2 t. salt + some for sprinkling on kale

Prepare salad at least 3 hours before serving, and up to 24 hours ahead.
Strip kale off stems and chop into thin strips. Place in a big bowl, sprinkle with salt, and massage with your hands until it turns bright green.
Add coconut.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a jar, shake well, and pour over the kale & coconut. Toss so that dressing is evenly dispersed.
Just before serving, add sunflower seeds and toss. Add salt to taste and enjoy. 

Family Gardening Book - Life Lab's Newest Publication

Coming in May, 2012 The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 ways to get KIDS outsite, DIRTY, and having FUN by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher.
This book demonstrates how to integrate the garden into family life, no matter its scope or scale. The book features simple, practical gardening advice, including how to design a play-friendly garden, ideas for fun-filled theme gardens, and how to cook and preserve the garden's bounty. This step-by-step guide to working side-by-side with kids will inspire all parents to grow their own little gardener! Place your order and download a sample activity.

California School Garden Training Program Update

Life Lab, along with organizational partners from the UC Davis Children's Garden Program and the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego, will train 1,500 educators, volunteers, parents and school garden support professionals throughout the state of California from 2012 - Spring 2014!

In March we announced the first twelve events in our free California School Garden Training Program, funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. We were thrilled and slightly overwhelmed by the groundswell of interest with which the announcement was met. Within three hours, the first workshop filled with 30 participants. Within 24 hours, a majority of the workshops were full with long waiting lists. As of today, all of the workshops are full with many more people still hoping to make it in off of wait lists. Fortunately, six of these events are Train-the-Trainers, and we should be seeing this affordable training replicated all around the state during the next school year. 

View all the Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden workshop materials and instructional videos, plus download the book Gardens for Learning at

Join our workshop
eblast to be notified of upcoming workshops.

In the Community Spotlight

The GoodTimes recognized the work of Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen.

"Like so many adults, I assumed for many years that kids didn't like vegetables," recalls Whitney Cohen. "As it turns out, this myth is just dead wrong." Read more...

Youth Food Bill of Rights

Youth declare a food bill of rights.Our FoodWhat youth along with others drafted an 18 point Youth Food Bill of Rights. View the document at
View the video by clicking on the image to your right.

What We Have Been Doing Since Our Winter Newsletter

  • 837 students have learned about food, nutrition, and science at Garden Classroom field trips
  • 31 environmental education interns have been trained 
  • 62 local youth began the FoodWhat Spring Internship
  • 121 educators were inspired at Garden Classroom workshops
  • 64 educators were trained by Life Lab at their garden sites
  • We installed a rain water catchment system and living willow tunnel in the Garden Classroom
  • 12 kids attended Garden Sprout Spring Break Day Camp

Meet Amy Carlson, Life Lab's Garden Educator

Outreach Director - John FisherAmy joined our staff in 2005, and during her time dramatically expanded our field trip and day camp programs. Additionally she has contributed to many of our recent publications. Read more about Amy and how she got where she is today.

Events and Workshops

Garden Classroom Educator Workshops

Science Inquiry in the Garden. Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sowing the Seeds of Wonder: Discovering the Garden in Early Childhood Education.
 Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Growing Classroom: An Introduction to Garden-Based Learning. Saturday - Sunday, August 18-19, 2012

Learn more about our workshops

Summer Day Camp Registration Open

  • Wildlands and Watering Cans Summer Day Camp for 7-10 year olds - June 25 - August 3, 2012
  • Farm and Wilderness Exploration Day Camp for 11-14 year olds - August 6 - 10, 2012
  • Summer Camp Youth Volunteers - One volunteer per session accepted
Learn more about our camps

Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden Events

  • Farm and Garden Spring Plant Sale, May 5-6
  • Follow the Fruit Trees Spring Workshop, May 12
  • Garden Cruz: Intensive Organic Gardening Course, May 18-20
  • Compost Making Workshop, June 9
  • Poetry and Music in the Garden, June 23
  • Grow and Arrange Your Own Bouquets, June 30
  • Garden Cruz: Intensive Organic Gardening Course, July 20-22
  • Summer Fruit Tree Pruning, July 28
Learn more

Donate to Life Lab

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We've got a lot of videos to show you!

Fun-Raising Events 

New Leaf Market Community Day - Thursday, April 26th
 Shop New Leaf Markets on April 26th and New Leaf will donate 5% to Life Lab Programs! Downtown Santa Cruz, Westside Santa Cruz, Capitola, Felton, and Boulder Creek stores will all be participating. Visit for locations.

Slow Coast Bike Race - Sunday, April 29th 
 The Slow Coast Green Fondo 56 mile fundraising ride will raise funds for FoodWhat. Hop on your bike and ride for FoodWhat. The bike ride will take you through some of the most beautiful spots in Santa Cruz County. At the end of the ride enjoy a three course Slow Food Dinner with wine! Not ready to ride? You can choose to support a past FoodWhat Youth who will be riding to raise funds for the FoodWhat Program. Visit Jose's page and learn how to sponsor his ride.

Human Race Walk-a-Thon on Westcliff Drive - Sunday, May 12
 The year the Santa Cruz Waldorf School is raising funds for Life Lab's Food,What Youth Program. Join The Human Race, a 6K walk/run along beautiful Westcliff Drive or sponsor the Santa Cruz Waldorf School.

Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery Thank You Thursday - Thursday, June 14th
Life Lab will be featured in the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Thank You Thursday Program. For every pint of beer sold $1 will be donated to Life Lab for ongoing support of our garden and farm-based education programs. Raise your glass for Life Lab from Noon to 10pm at the brewery 402 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz 95060.

Purchase Renee's Garden Seeds Online to Support Life Lab!
 Join with Renee to support Life Lab when you buy seeds from Enter the Life Lab fundraising code, FR713B, in the coupon code box on the checkout page. Renees Garden will donate 25% of the value of your order to Life Lab!

GoodSearch - GoodShop - GoodDining ... Good for Life Lab!
Life Lab is now a member of, a wonderful charitable web site that lets you raise money for Life Lab every time you search the web! After a quick and easy free registration, just designate Life Lab as your charity of choice, and then start searching. We will receive a penny per search, which really adds up these days! And you can raise even more for Life Lab through GoodShop offers discount coupons from thousands of online businesses, which also donate 1 to 6% of each purchase to charity. Just start your online shopping from or, better yet use the easy toolbar in your browser, and your see the donations add up for Life Lab at no cost to you! Eating out? has you covered, too. Check out first, then use all three and we will all see the power of community as many little actions add up to big impacts.

Grants for School Gardens

The California School Garden Network Grants and Fundraising Page lists some of the best garden-based learning grant resources plus much more to help your program raise funds.

Life Lab posts grant oppotunities that come across our desktops on Facebook. Scroll through our posts and look for "GRANT Opportunity"
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