Life Lab

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

School Garden Tour - March 29th, 2019

03/29/2019 09:30 AM - 03:30 PM PT


  • $200.00


Santa Cruz School Gardens
Santa Cruz, CA
United States of America


On this tour, participants visit four established elementary school gardens and meet garden coordinators with years of experience.


Pacific Elementary School Garden




$180/$200 includes lunch at The FoodLab program at Pacific School in Davenport, CA.
10% Early-Bird Registration Discount will be applied in check-out process for workshops registered 14 days prior to workshop start date.

See upcoming dates at our tour and workshop registration page


Anyone interested or involved in school gardens


The Santa Cruz area is home to some of the most impressive and long standing school garden programs in the nation. 

Tour stops will include long-standing gardens such as:

Gateway K-8 School Garden and Outdoor Kitchen
Pacific Elementary School Garden and Orchard
Bonny Doon Elementary School Garden, Orchard, Hen House, and Science/Nutrition Lab
Gault School Garden and Nutrition Education Program

The tour will be lead by John Fisher of Life Lab. John is a Life Lab Trainer, and a school garden parent volunteer. He has been leading school garden tours of the Monterey Bay Area since 2007, and brings much enthusiasm and a desire to share his experiences with others involved in garden-based education. 

Key Tour Components

Learn ...

* School garden design principles

* Best practices from the garden coordinators at 4 stellar, longstanding school garden programs

Discuss ...

* How people in Santa Cruz and across the nation are using gardening and cooking to bring academic learning to life; increase environmental literacy; inspire healthy eating; and support social/emotional growth in their students.


Participant Comments

If you are interested in creating, improving, or learning new ideas about school gardens, this is the tour for you.

As a long-time school garden educator, it's so useful to "cross-pollinate" every once in a while. This tour was a great way to get an in-depth (but quick) glimpse into the workings of 4 different, but inspiring school garden programs.

New school gardeners or seasoned pros will benefit from this tour. Prepare yourself for an exciting opportunity to see well defined, organized school gardens and cafeteria food service improvements. Don't forget a camera, pen and paper. You will want to take notes and pictures so you don't forget all the great ideas to apply to your own program.

The tour was a great experience and would be beneficial to anyone and everyone. It gave a wide perspective on not only garden-based education in schools, but also how such education translates to healthy food access in cafeterias.

This tour was a great way to experience the diversity of challenges communities face when seeking nutritional change for kids. It is also informative and inspiring to learn how communities overcome great obstacles to move forward and truly connect kids with healthy food .

Any garden educator, teacher, or anyone simply interested in school gardens and nutrition enhancement, should come to these workshops. They have endless resources. The ability to network with individuals with different experience levels is also a big PLUS.

Past year's tour stops:

Westlake Elementary School Garden is a well-kept site with an active greenhouse, composting systems, friendly hens, fruit trees and veggies. Jane Forbes, their long time garden coordinator, was instrumental in securing district funding for all four Santa Cruz elementary school garden coordinators.

View a video of Jane teaching a compost lesson in her garden.

Pacific Elementary School is run by classroom teachers, parents and community volunteers. Six of their garden beds are dedicated to the production of greens that are incorporated in to their Food Lab school meal program. In addition to viewing the K-6 garden, we will also take a peek at the preschool garden onsite.

DeLaveaga Elementary School is one of four gardens with a district funded garden coordinator. This long standing, large garden is ran by Kim Gal a past Life Lab intern and garden-nutrition educator.

Live Oak School District School Food Service has re-envisioned their school meal program by constructing a new central kitchen that works to incorporate more scratch cooking. We will meet with Rachel Otis, director of Child Nutrition for the district. Read more about LOSD Food Service.


View all scheduled upcoming Garden Classroom workshops/tours

All workshops and tours require advanced registration and deposit.

To set up a workshop for your school site, please call Life Lab at (831) 459-3833 or email us at

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