Grant #365

No Monkey Business

September 23, 2019

Your Fancy Coconut Milk Might Have Been Harvested By A Very Annoyed Monkey

With the current fashion for coconut everything, there’s a huge demand for coconuts, which means there’s a huge demand for coconut harvesters.

Somebody or something has got to get the coconuts out of tall palm trees. It can be a person doing slow and strenuous work, using a very long stick with a blade attached. But a monkey can climb up the tree and harvest coconuts four times faster than humans. So a lot of poor farmers use Pigtail Macaques to do the work, and as you can imagine, this isn’t great for the monkeys. Some of them are visibly distressed, and they can even become dangerous.

Thailand produces 900,000 tons of coconuts every year and monkeys are still an integral part of the chain of getting those coconuts to you.

Documentary filmmaker Yoshie Lewis plans to follow an activist who’s working in Thailand, where she wants to show plantations harvesting without monkeys, as well as the ways other farmers are trying to depend less on the Macaques.

Our Awesome Without Borders grant will help create the sizzle reel for the film, a video preview of what the moviemaker hopes to create. The sizzle reel gives potential funders a taste of the story and style.

We have no idea when this movie might come to a screen near you, but we’re pretty sure you’re going to run into a coconut in some form. (Check the ingredients! Surprise coconut oil everywhere!)

Think about those Macaques and be glad that awesome people are trying to help them quit the jobs they never signed up for.

Category: Activism, Animals, Film, Nature, Preservation



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders