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JBLM spouse kick-starts farmers market in Yelm

Yelm Co-Op hosts Military Fun Health Day Aug. 26

Mari Mankamyer of Mari's Farms, left, and Logan Mote and Susie Kyle, of Winlock Meadows Farms, can be found at the Yelm Farmers Market and are excited to share their products Aug. 26 during the Military Fun Health Day.

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Army spouse Geana Henkes and her husband, Capt. Herman Henkes of the 47th Combat Support Hospital, settled in the Yelm area just over a year and half ago. They have since invested a considerable amount of time working on their farm, Rainbow Farm. Their love for growing organic food sparked an idea to have a farmers market. Henkes contacted the Yelm Food Cooperative (Co-op) to pitch the idea, only to find that having a farmers market was something it had been wanting to do for quite some time. However, it lacked a manager for the project.

It turns out Henkes was their lady, and the Yelm Farmers Market has been in full swing since late spring.  The military spouse didn't want to stop there, however, and another idea came to mind.

"When new military families come to the area, we want to introduce them to Yelm, our farmers market, and to the Co-op," she said. 

Wanting also to find a way to give back to the military, Henkes created Military Fun Health Day, which will be held Aug. 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 2nd Street between McKenzie and Mosman in Yelm.

Henkes envisioned the event as not only a way to give back to the military, but also as a way to let everyone know that Yelm is a great, military friendly place with much to offer.

Not only will Military Fun Health day provide a way to introduce the nutritional products offered at the Yelm Co-Op, but also the local foods offered at the Yelm Farmers Market.

"It will also be an opportunity to donate to a local military charity," Henkes said.

On its website, the Co-op posted a poll asking the community to vote on which local military charity their donations should go to. Rainier Therapeutic Riding, which works with Servicemembers from the Warrior Transition Battalion and Air Force Medical Flight at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, received the most votes.

Rainier Therapeutic Riding will receive $1 for every military ID card that is shown. Military families will first arrive at the Yelm Co-Op, show their military ID and receive a card that will be that will be stamped. There will be an opportunity to meet with nutritional experts, try samples of various products and play games for a chance to win prizes, including gift certificates for local businesses.

Participants will then head over to the Yelm Farmers Market and have their card stamped again. After the card is stamped for the second time, it will be entered as a $1 donation toward Rainier Therapeutic Riding.

There will be many kid-friendly activities offered at the farmer's market, including face painting and games, and local authors Andre and Amanda Maxwell will be on hand. There will also be chair massages offered between 2 and 4 p.m.

One of the major sponsors of the event is Spiral Café of Yelm, and a food wagon will offer many different products found at the café.

Both military and non-military families are invited to participate in the Military Fun Health Day. Local charities listed on the initial poll will participate in the event, and donations will be welcomed. Some vendors at the farmers market will offer generous discounts on their items.

"There are a lot of military families in the Yelm area, and many of them are looking for a way to connect to the community," Henkes said. "The Co-Op and the farmers market is a place for everyone to come and meet new people while buying local."

The Yelm Farmer's Market is held Sundays from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. through October. For more information, visit

For more information about the Yelm Co-Op, visit

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