PUBLISHED: 4:49 PM on Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Clare's clever market
Six-year-old entrepreneur raises money for Southeast Alaska Food Bank

Photo by Abby LaForce
  Clare Boily stands at her farmer's market featuring organic produce, baked goods and other donated items to raise money for the Southeast Alaska Food Bank.
Forget playing "grocery store" with an imaginary set-up because Clare Boily, 6, has ingenious ideas like creating her own farmer's market and actually making real green money.

Even better, she did it to benefit the Southeast Alaska Food Bank; she thought it would be fun, too.

She was inspired by a children's magazine that presented a harvest and market plan. In child-like yet realistic terms, Clare's reason for her idea was, "so people would stay alive."

Customers attending had their share of fun as well, from chomping on grilled hotdogs with the works to sipping homemade limeade with hand-picked blueberries floating on top.

"The delicious limeade is worth the 4,000 mile trip," said tourist Kathy Baer, of College Park, Md., who was roving near the neighborhood with husband, Bob, and looking for something entertaining to do.

It wasn't just a market, but a warm community gathering of laughter, food and positive intentions.

Located in a family friend's garage on 6th and Main St., Clare's Market boomed with success. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, July 22, tables were loaded with fresh, organic produce, baked goods, jams and chutneys, plants, books and handmade accessories at the market's start and then liquidated by early afternoon. Every item was donated by family, friends and community members.

As pies flew out the door, cookies and more were replaced by new incoming donors.

"The foundation of the market was the donation by Full Circle Farm. They donated four boxes of fruits and veggies," said Clare's mother, Sarah Louis. Full Circle Farm offers a CSA delivery program and organic produce year round.

In addition to the donated vegetables, Clare spent the past two weeks in Tenakee helping her grandmother and master gardener, Elizabeth Shaw, harvest produce for the upcoming event.

"She worked hard in Tenakee to get vegetables to Juneau. We brought over onions, garlic, zucchini, broccoli and kohlrabi, and my husband made strawberry-rhubarb jam," said Shaw.

"Clare's friends from Tenakee (also) made cookies and sent them over to Juneau."

The Southeast Alaska Food Bank, a non-profit organization, which distributes food to agencies such as the Glory Hole and the Aware Shelter and individuals, benefited appreciatively from the event; all proceeds went to the event including food items that weren't sold.

"We rely on food drives and events like this to keep the food bank full of food," said Darren Adams, of SAFB.

"More than anything we're flattered that Clare would think of doing something so generous like this. The cool thing about this event is because of one little girl's idea it will turn into something enormous and touch hundreds of lives."

While customers enjoyed the bounty of organic produce selections and baked treats, it also was a foreground for children to interact with adults in a benevolent and educational method.

"I think focusing on a child is very beneficial for the community. It teaches children to be generous," Shaw said.

Juneau looks forward with hope to another farmer's market next year.

"The market is for a 'dang' good cause and it might happen on a yearly basis. People are just into it," said Clare's father, Sean Boily.