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Lil MacPherson, Eastern Canada

Saturday Spotlight Series

· Spotlight Series

Lil MacPherson was born and raised in Nova Scotia. She is the founder and co-owner of The Wooden Monkey restaurants, located in Halifax and Dartmouth. Serving food with a conscience is the restaurant's mission and many awards have recognized this statement.

Lil is a trained presenter for Al Gore's Climate Change Project and has attended United Nations Climate Change Conferences in Copenhagen, Mexico City and Cancun. She has travelled the world, from the Slow Food International Conference in Italy to a "Chalice" sponsor site in Africa but her passion remains on local issues concerning food sustainability and supporting Nova Scotia farmers.

Lil has been sharing her message from elementary schools to universities, private and government-sponsored conferences. She is able to get her message across with a sense of urgency while using her sense of humour. She often says that the people she focuses her attention on most are the people that eat food. One of her favourite things to do is retreat to her mountain hide-a-way and hop on her tractor

Why did you join the climate movement/what pushed you to become interested in climate change issues?

Sept 29/ 2003 change my life; We were struck by a Hurricane in our province, that put us in darkness for 9 days. In my gut, I knew this was related to climate change, as the waters get warmer, storms get stronger. Nova Scotia is almost an island and I found out we only have 3 days of food left if we were to get cut off from the rest of the world. This to me was unreal, unsustainable, and just a bad business model. It scared me to do something. This food security situation drove me to open a restaurant with the vision and mission to help build back our food security and our farm economy. 16 years later, we now purchase from over a dozen farms, and altogether, over 40 small local suppliers. This is called - Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy. All this helps mitigate Climate Change and lower our GHG emissions. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of our Climate Crisis.

What is one achievement you are proud of?

Opening a restaurant with next to no funds, and very little support. But what I did have was a boat full of passion and a strong vision for sustainability. I am amazed still and proud that we are still open after 16 years, with 2 locations.

What was your most iconic/memorable Act of Leadership?

I was invited to be the commencement speaker for Millwood high school. Addressing all the grad students and parents was quite an honour. I, of course, talked about the green tsunami of jobs that is coming from all over the globe.

What are some climate change initiatives you are currently taking part in?

I am working on presentations on Regenerative Farming and soil solutions. Also, I am in rolled in a course by the " Kiss the Ground" course on farming solutions. I have started, in my restaurant, a campaign " Water By Request". Restaurants waste a ton of water. It takes 3 glasses of water to put one glass in front of a customer. Restaurants throw out undrunken water, to the tune of 2000 glasses a month. I am hoping more restaurants join in and help save millions of gallons of drinking water going down the drain. Water is gold!

What do you think is the most effective way for people to take climate action?

One of the biggest impacts they could have is to commit to never purchasing industrial meat and moving to local grass-fed and ethical production and eating less of it. The industrial livestock, factory farm industry is an ecological, environmental, and climate change disaster! People are so focused on the petroleum industry that they're missing this...which is the elephant in the room.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I've been told I'm a world-class spoon player

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