Tracy and Jessica Parks at Take Root Cafe have been helping the hungry since 2016 in Kirksville’s historic Pickler’s Famous Building downtown. The couple’s goal is to alleviate hunger and promote health by offering nourishing, high quality, local food. They wanted to create a more compassionate, thriving, and economically strong community through the medium of sustainable and local food, which is particularly important in Adair County, the fourteenth poorest county in Missouri with 26 percent of the population below the poverty level, according to the 2018 Poverty Report by Missourians to End Poverty.

The food options at Take Root Cafe include seasonal farm specials that are updated on the website monthly: fresh salad bowls with locally sourced veggies, fun vegetarian options such as a falafel sandwich, and classics such as the Cuban pork sandwich. Jessica tries to change one salad, one soup, and a few entrees seasonally, but certain items such as the shepherd’s pie or the Cuban pork sandwich stay on the menu year-round.

Guests are able to discreetly choose one of five options:

• pay the suggested amount
• pay more than the suggested amount to help those who cannot pay
• pay less than the suggested amount, whatever they can
• volunteer for at least thirty minutes in return for a meal
• have the vegetable bowl for free, if unable to pay or volunteer.

So far this year, almost 1,400 payments have been made above the suggested price, and about 2,000 people have taken lower cost or free meals.

Take Root Cafe is part of OWEE, or One World Everybody Eats Foundation. 114 W. Harrison Street

Tuesdays–Saturdays, 11 AM to 8 PM

660-956-4671 •