August’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Kate Punnett to bring flowers to isolated seniors, and to start building a social movement to do it at an even greater scale next summer.
“The Elderflower Project,” explains Kate, “is my initiative to bring flowers to isolated seniors in Ottawa. I am an urban cut-flower grower, social artist, and florist. I started this project at the beginning of COVID-19, wanting to spread beauty into the community, and specifically to seniors who have been greatly affected by the isolation of the pandemic.”
Initially, bouquets will be assembled from flowers from Kate’s urban gardens, as well as those purchased from other local growers. They will be added to hampers that the team at Ottawa West Community Support is already distributing to shut-in seniors.
“My next level of engagement,” Kate continues, “will be to involve people who have flowers in their own gardens to donate them to the bouquets. Longer-term, I plan to launch a social enterprise that gives donations and feeds this impulse of beauty for change.” To that end, part of the Awesome Ottawa award will be used to purchase seeds that will be mixed into small envelopes and given away next spring to gardeners interested in participating.
As part of the project, Kate sells $15 bouquets on her website that will be given to a shut-in senior, and also auctions off a large arrangement every Friday with the profits supporting the work. You can find out more at cityloveflowers.ca.
Kate is a social and mixed-media artist with a background in food science, organic agriculture, teaching, and community-based education.
Awesome Ottawa is part of a global movement of self-organizing chapters forwarding the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time. At each chapter, 10 or so “trustees” each contribute $100 every month, and review short applications received online to decide on the recipient of their pooled funds—usually a local project, but occasionally a particularly awesome one far away from home. Globally, more than $4.5 million has already been awarded–$127,000 of that by Awesome Ottawa.