Lil MacPherson | Food | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Lil MacPherson

A restaurant and an educational tool, The Wooden Monkey came to life out of Hurricane Juan and McPherson’s values.

Owner The Wooden Monkey, 1707 Grafton Street and 40 Alderney Drive

"It was an a-ha moment," Lil MacPherson says. When Hurricane Juan struck Nova Scotia, a storm of concerns about food security hit her hard.

"To me the very foundation of business, life, a province, a country is to make sure you have enough food for yourself. It's like looking after your home: you make sure you have enough food for your family," she says. "Make sure you have the foundations in life like water, energy, food, before you buy a couch. We do the opposite here as a province. We spend money on World Trade Centres. That's our couch. We can't afford a couch because there are people that are still hungry."

With her restaurant, The Wooden Monkey, MacPherson wanted to support farmers, to support local production. "I was more scared of not doing it than I was of failing." Her hope was for the Monkey to be an educational tool to show others how to eat with values. They started in 2004 with only one or two farm suppliers. Now they buy from 18. With business partner Christine Bower, MacPherson really pioneered the idea of local food with heart and soil. "I created my business to support my values," she says. "The values come first."

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