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The Pro Deo Learning Garden

A Nurturing Environment for Teens – The Story of How The Pro Deo Learning Garden Started

The support from a District 6040 Rotary Grant for a community/humanitarian collaborative project brought all three Lee’s Summit Rotary Clubs together to envision a learning garden in northeast Lee’s Summit. The vision is to use the learning garden as a laboratory for learning, production, and recreation. Read on to learn more about the grassroots effort for our sustainable cause….

Local Rotarians were directly involved in the construction and maintenance of the greenhouse and garden. A long-term partnership between St. Matthew Lutheran Church and Pro Deo Youth Center transformed unused green space into a vibrant raised bed garden. The outdoor space is located just blocks away from Pro Deo at the site behind St. Matthew Lutheran Church.


The garden is best served by a year-round schedule of harvesting dependent upon the season. The expertise of community volunteers skilled in urban gardens are solicited to ensure oversight for the care, maintenance, and beautification of the garden. The garden project provides fresh produce to families in the community and thus increases the scope of food security with a focus on low income households. The area in which the garden was developed has substantial low income housing in the general vicinity of the project location. This project will teach youth the importance of caring for the earth while learning how to grow their own food, work in a professional environment, operate a small business and create positive change for the community, the environment, and themselves.

Pro Deo Youth Center builds relationships with teens outside of school hours to assist in their health and long-term success. The partnership among the Rotary Clubs and Pro Deo is indicative of the collaborative model all entities portray in the Lee’s Summit community. For more information, contact Elaine Metcalf at or any member of Sunrise Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Lee’s Summit, or Downtown Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club

Giving Back to the Community

Teens use the harvest from the learning garden to give back to the community. Surplus produce is given to local food pantries, like Coldwater. We have also made flower bouquets for Meals on Wheels clients, Village Hospice patients, and John Knox Village residents.

We Eat What We Grow

The learning garden is a true food source for our teens and the community. We empower teenagers to create lifelong healthy habits as well as prevent food insecurity. We use the Pro Deo Rotary Learning Garden to harvest vegetables and herbs for consumption. The teens have made zucchini bread, refrigerator pickles, potato chips and roasted green beans from the produce.


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