Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 7:01 am | Fair 50º


In Greenlab Classroom, Mother Nature is Teacher

Food-growing program focuses on permaculture concepts and organic processes

Santa Barbara High School students at work in outdoor classroom.
Santa Barbara High School students at work in outdoor classroom. (Santa Barbara High School)

Built in 2016, Santa Barbara High School’s new outdoor learning facility, called GreenLab, is giving students an opportunity to take education out of the classroom and into the natural world.

Curriculum focuses on hands-on, student-led projects to produce food with minimal inputs. Student projects in food production, with an emphasis on permaculture concepts and organic methods, are led by science teacher Jose Caballero.

The GreenLab includes a large organic garden, a chicken coop and integrated chicken-tractor, beehives, three aquaponic systems, a massive compost program, six tower gardens, a production nursery, and an expanding orchard.

Students dive directly into projects every day at 7 a.m., with a minimum of direct instruction and a focus on direct physical engagement with their surroundings.

Current development goals include:

Orchard expansion, greater participation in on-campus waste diversion to the compost system, splitting and adding more hives, a renovating old greenhouse, community workshops and lecture series, a photovoltaic installation, and a compost tea system.

Also on tap are on-site cricket production for protein-rich animal feed, a rabbit hutch, and improvements to the irrigation system.

La Cuesta High School, in collaboration with Santa Barbara High, plans to launch a culinary academy, with hopes of cross-pollination with GreenLab.

GreenLab students accept a year of personal effort, and enjoy the fruits of their labor by taking produce home to their families, and occasionally celebrate the harvest with Wednesday morning omelette breakfasts and salad lunches.

Find out more at www.SBGreenLab.com.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​— Haley Fuller for Santa Barbara High School.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.