Meet Chris and Katie Francis
Who are we, why did we want to grow flowers, and why should you be interested in our flowers?
WHO ARE WE?
Chris is a Wilmington, Illinois, native. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with a degree in agricultural economics and a concentration in farm management. His graduate training is urban planning (economic development) and he currently does tax preparation and financial planning work. Katie is an Iowa native; she relocated to Illinois to attend Wheaton College and then completed graduate school in political science at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She is also a certified floral designer through the American Institute of Floral Designers. Katie and Chris spent two years in Pittsburgh while Katie was teaching at the University of Pittsburgh before moving back to the Midwest in 2016. Four generations of the Francis family have been born and raised in Wilmington.
WHY GROW FLOWERS?
Chris and Katie have separate, but complimentary, interests in growing flowers. Chris enjoys the technical challenge of it – the planning, preparation, and physical act of growing things. To Chris, growing is an enjoyable challenge that requires problem solving, critical thinking, and innovation. Katie enjoys the flower aspect of it – the selection, tending, harvesting, and arranging. To Katie, the growing, tending, and arranging is an enjoyable challenge that requires creativity, artistry, and improvisation. Both Chris and Katie appreciate how flowers are expressive, helping us to communicate in diverse moments of different emotions. This sentiment is the reason for both the name Proclamation Flowers and for the farm motto, “Make your statement in flowers.”
WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR FLOWERS?
So, why should you be interested in our flowers? First, our flowers are in-seasonal, locally grown, and very fresh. We grow them locally and usually harvest within 24 hours of selling them. That freshness means that our flowers are fragrant, vibrant, and long-lasting without relying on chemicals to preserve their life – unlike what you would find elsewhere. Our intention is to grow the most natural blooms with as limited chemicals as possible. (Currently, we are not certified organic, but are pursuing similar growing techniques.) Given that we grow and sell locally, our blooms also require fewer resources (read: cost to customers) to get them to market. Second, we believe in the quality of our product. We are not using shortcuts or chemical tricks; we grow flowers that look and smell good. In addition, for health and family reasons, we are conscientious about what chemicals and products we use while growing in order to have the safest product for our family and yours. Third and finally, while we love growing flowers, we are also ‘people people’. We are a family operation that cares about our customers. We enjoy interacting with our customers and sharing our love of fresh flowers with them. We want to assist you in developing a look, feel, or gift that captures what you want to say. We look forward to meeting you and to working with you!