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Our Staff

Jessica Parks, Founder

My husband, Tracy, and I are the founders of Take Root Cafe. This started as just a dream in our heads to provide everyone in our community with fresh local foods and now it has proven to be everything we hoped for and more! I can't wait to see what the future holds for Take Root and this community. Before Take Root, I was a stay at home mom with our now 5 year old son, Elijah. In addition to my job, I love to bake, forage for wild edibles, and grow lots of tasty food. I used to work resettling refugees in Kansas City and have a passion for helping those in need. I have a BA degree in Anthropology and Human Rights from the University of Washington, and an MA degree in Multicultural Education from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.


My favorite thing to do in Kirksville is discovering all the wild edibles and hiking on the many trails we have. I love riding my bike to work and around town. My favorite healthy food is Kale chips. A fun fact about me is I went into college thinking that I would become an astrophysicist. Go figure!

William Robb, Executive Director
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I have recently stepped into the role of Executive Director at Take Root Cafe, coming from several years working as a Program Manager in food related organizations and decades of volunteer work building community based food systems.  For the past two years, at The Hort, I managed a team of horticultural instructors, building gardens and growing food with incarcerated individuals.  Prior to that I managed an employee food program at a large tech firm, providing lunch, coffee and snacks to hundreds of employees across nine offices.   


My passion for working in community food reaches back to my work with the Intervale Community Farm, one of Vermont’s oldest and largest CSA’s, where I was a board member and working member for decades. My volunteer work ranges from developing urban agriculture policy to working in the kitchen at a food pantry.  My education includes an MBA in sustainable business practice, and a MS in Statistics.


I am excited to bring my experience to Take Root Cafe supporting our wonderful community in our mission of making healthy local food accessible to all, and working to support our local farmers.  When not working, I read pretty much everything I can get my hands on, try my hand at writing, and have been enjoying getting out hiking in Missouri’s wonderful state parks.  Having just relocated to Kirksville, I plan to spend time exploring, and look forward to getting to know the area.

Drew Couch, Executive Chef

Bio Coming Soon!

Jake Sparks, Team Lead

Bio Coming Soon!

Justin McKean, Chef de Cuisine 

I got involved with Take Root at the beginning of this 2016 year after hearing about it from my lovely friend, Tommy Fieser. I am in full support of the OWEE Model (One World Everyone Eats). The pay-what-you-can-pricing is inclusive and works super well. Tailoring to all walks of life is the core of community development. Everyone deserves healthy, nutrient-dense food and everyone has the right to sit at a community table and share a meal. Doing this and having all the food supplied as local as possible is the smartest way to support our neighboring farmers and local economy. Take Root's mission is whole. Our mission supports the individual, community, economy, and environment!


My favorite thing to do in Kirksville is getting together with friends and sharing a sacred space. Allowing room for each of us to grow through all modes of communication is where my favorite activity resides. Doing yoga, acro-yoga, meditation, dancing, singing, and serving. My favorite food is the one that is hand-picked from a local garden, especially a garden that I was involved with. There is nothing as wonderful as a good ol free handpickin'. I love to do headstands and kartwheels!

Brendan Nebel, Sous Chef

"Wealth is in the mind, not the pocket." I, Brendan Nebel, strive to be mindful of misconceptions, rational with responsibilities, and employ an empathetic environment. My favorite animal is a White Bengal Tiger and my career interests lie in Clinical Psychology. Check out the Art of Living Club!

Nina Thomas, Team Member

I first learned about Take Root before it opened in 2016 when I was 13 years old. After helping set up the theater, I became involved in Take Root and volunteered in the summer. As a high schooler, I plan on studying communication disorders in college so I can help children with autism and other developmental disorders. When I’m not working at Take Root, I’m often hiking, reading, and raising chickens with my family.

Rachael Murray, Team Member

Bio Coming Soon!

Samantha Radke, Team Member

Bio Coming Soon!

Lesley Hauck, Team Member

Bio Coming Soon!

Gavin Gratza, Dishwasher

Bio Coming Soon!

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