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Pantoja Park

About ASCENDtials

ASCENDtials is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims to empower BIPOC communities through workshops and conferences that teach BIPOC individuals methods to combat oppressive structures. Recently, ASCENDtials created a Kemetic Yoga program centered on alleviating BIPOC participants’ stress and depression symptoms. Realizing the significance of its Kemetic Yoga program, ASCENDtials expanded further into the wellness sector by creating gardening initiatives.  We currently run a community garden in Bonita, but would like to have one in our neighborhood, in the Pantoja Park.

Volunteerism Efforts 

Recent wildfires raging throughout southern California indicate that climate change is a real occurring force within many coastal U.S. communities. ASCENDtials seeks to respond to these changes by supporting the community with essential tools that encourage building relationships, increasing knowledge on growing our own food, and providing preventative responses to the growing concerns over food insecurity. As a community, we require access to a community garden for residents to have as a backup. No one should be limited to supermarket produce, but have community resources to support your health needs. This means that we must work together to change our situation through collaboration with local populations and neighbors. 

ASCENDtials aims to fund the project through local grants and online donations. ASCENDtials will use student volunteers to fertilize the soil and plant vegetable crops within a small area of San Diego County’s Pantoja Park. 

Through this gardening initiative, ASCENDtials desires to educate and highlight these crops and gardening techniques to students (and San Diego’s residents), given America’s challenges with climate change, supply chain bottlenecks, and depleting freshwater sources and soil issues. By bringing together students of all ages, we can learn more about nature and ways to sustain and protect land in our own communities. This is necessary if we are to prepare ourselves for these issues that won’t go away without changing our awareness and responses to them. To sustain the garden, we will ask members to pay a small monthly membership fee of $5 to maintain the grounds and preserve the garden’s operational costs.

Our Gardening Initiative

ASCENDtials aims to plant maize corn, peppers, beans, and squash. The types of plants chosen originate from ancient civilizations like the Aztecs, Cherokee, and other Native American and Central American tribes.

Maize Corn

ASCENDtials will plant four species of maize corn: Rainbow corn, Blue Hopi corn, Aztec corn, and Oaxacan Green Dent corn. Historically, Maize corn varieties were the choice of crop for ancient Hopi, Aztec, Cherokee, and Zapotec tribes because they could weather extreme temperatures and droughts.

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ASCENDtials will also plant Tepani beans, Lima beans, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, and Arikara Dry Yellow Beans. ASCENDtials chose to plant these types of beans to demonstrate the inventiveness of Native American tribes and to highlight lesser-known Native American bean varieties. For instance, the Arikara Dry Yellow Beans were cultivated by Arikara and Mandan Tribes within the Missouri region, while the Cherokee Tribes planted Cherokee Trail of Tears beans after they were forced to move to Oklahoma.


ASCENDtials will plant varieties of Chiltepin Peppers and Ordono peppers which originate from Mexico, and Jupiter Red Bell peppers and Criola de Cochine Peppers from Central America. ASCENDtials intends to accentuate the contributions Central American tribes have made toward current U.S. farming methods by planting Central American pepper varieties. 

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ASCENDtials will plant four Native American varieties of Squash: Candy Roaster, Mandan Summer, Arikara, and Seminole Pumpkin. ASCENDtials is eager to highlight these Midwestern and Floridan tribes’ crops to the average person.

Community involvement End-of-Season Harvest Competition

Student volunteers will participate in a gardening competition. The competition will recognize volunteers’ abilities and showcase the literal fruits of their labor while educating them. The competition provides an element of fun and a platform to come together, compete and exchange knowledge, and advance their level of horticultural skills. 

There will be several categories based on the different species grown, and volunteers can select which category they would like to compete in. 

Judges will also make their decisions based on the taste, size, and weight of each participant’s harvest. Judges will award points, 10 points being the maximum. 

Examples of possible submissions are included below.

Type of PlantHeaviest Largest Tastiest 
Maize Corn   

Gardening Rules & Things to Bring

Welcome to ASCENDtials Garden Club!  Thank you for your decision to grow with us! We hope your experience is enjoyable and enriching. Our club has many opportunities for fun events and activities alongside growing the foods needed to sustain a healthy, productive life! Join us in creating these moments together!

Here’s a site that has a list of 5 useful items to bring every time you come to the garden. In addition to the following items, you can bring your own gloves, hat, and sunscreen.

Something To Take Notes With

  • Measurements or plans for building something
  • To-Do List 

Something to take Photos and Videos with

  • Plants and progress you have made to post on social media
  • Parts of your garden that need changes you can mark up later 
  • Plants that are diseased or that you need to identify to take to a nursery or garden center for expert advice

Something to Drink and Eat

  • Water / Tea
  • Health Snacks

Something to Listen to

  • Meditative Music
  • Powerful, Energetic Music
  • Talk Radio / Podcasts / Audiobooks

Something to tell you when to stop Working

  • Wristwatch
  • Smartphone (Alarm)
  • Someone to call for you


5354 Sweetwater Rd, Bonita, CA 91902