Founded in 1984, Chelsea Green Publishing is recognized as a leading publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, publishing authors who bring in-depth, practical knowledge to life, and give readers hands-on information related to organic farming and gardening, permaculture, ecology, the environment, simple living, food, sustainable business and economics, green building, and more.

In 2012, Chelsea Green decided to practice what it publishes and became an employee-owned company, creating an ESOP in which employees control 78 percent of the company’s privately held stock; the remaining stock is held by the founders.

Chelsea Green is also an industry leader when it comes to book publishing as a craft, too. Our team of editors works closely with each author to develop their manuscript before it even heads into the production and design process. We also have in-house design, sales, and marketing teams—including events, media, and publicity outreach, as well as social media and online marketing guidance—that allow us to provide a full suite of support services for our authors. We are a founding member of the Green Press Initiative and have been printing books on recycled paper since 1985, when our books first appeared in bookstores.

We lead the industry both in terms of content—foundational books on renewable energy, green building, organic agriculture, eco-cuisine, and ethical business—and in terms of environmental practice, printing 95 percent of our books on recycled paper with a minimum 30 percent post-consumer waste and aiming for 100 percent whenever possible. We also print our books in North America, as opposed to overseas like many publishers, with most of our printing partners based in the United States.

This approach is a perfect example of what is called a ”triple bottom line“ practice, one that benefits people, planet, and profit, and the emerging new model for sustainable businesses in the 21st century.


Publishing Talks Article: David Wilk Interviews Margo Baldwin

Publishing Talks Podcast

VT Business Magazine: An Interview with Founders Margo and Ian Baldwin
Feb 2006

Chelsea Green Publishing was established by Ian and Margo Baldwin in 1984, with the publication of The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. Today, Chelsea Green is considered the major publisher of books on sustainable living.

Ian, 67, served as CEO from the company's beginning until the mid-1990s, when Stephen Morris was hired to eventually take over the day-to-day business operations, while Ian moved on to focus on other publishing ventures and his art. Morri's left in 2002 when Margo, 55, stepped back in to run the company and redefine its mission.

The new mission statement in 2003 says of the company's redefined sense of direction, in part: "...Is it enough to focus on the how-to of 'green living' in the face of such overwhelming force, the 'shock and awe' of forest and ecosystem destruction, the rampant plundering of the world's oceans, the terror of GMO-contaminated-food, and the unintended consequences of biotechnology? We wish to move the company forward boldly and with a new sense of urgency. While continuing our commitment to remain at the forefront of information about green building, organic growing, and renewable energy - the practical aspects of sustainability - we will also publish for a new politics of sustainability, for the cultural resistance that living demands of us now."

Ian is a co-founder of the Marion Institute which sponsors the website. He is also part of Vermont Commons, an organization dedicated to the proposition that Vermonters should peaceably secede from the United States and govern themselves as an independent republic. The Straw Bale House, Gaviotas, The Four Season Harvest and the recent Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff Chelsea Green's first New York Times bestseller - are some of the company's better known titles.

Chelsea Green titles have received numerous awards over the years, including ALA and Booklist Notable Books of the Year, the John Burroughs Medal, James Beard Award finalist and the Garden Globe Award.

The Baldwins live in Chelsea and have two children. Ian also has two children from a previous marriage.

VBM: I'd like to begin with your background. How did you come to Vermont, how did the two of you meet, and how did you a become involved in this business?

Company News

In 2014, Chelsea Green celebrated 30 years of independent publishing with the release of The Chelsea Green Reader. In addition, the company’s longevity, and business practices were featured in a number of local and national publications. Here is a selection:

Publisher's Weekly - Fill The Showroom, Sales Will Follow: The Bookstore As Filter (May 9, 2011)

Seven Days - Print Versus Pixels: Should green-minded readers switch to e-books? (April 2011)

Publisher's Weekly - More than a Bookstore (October 11, 2010)

Writers Cast - Publishing Talks: David Wilk Interviews Margo Baldwin (April 2010)

The Huffington Post - The Death (and Rebirth) of the Slush Pile (January 2010)

Green Guide NH - This local publisher is changing the world, one book at a time (July 24, 2009)

Publishers Weekly - Chelsea Green Sets Up Wish List for Librarians (June 29, 2009)

Sentient Times - Editors Note (June 18, 2009)

Publishers Weekly - Toward a Greener Future (June 10, 2009)

Publishers Weekly - Sold—and Not Even to the Highest Bidder (June 10, 2009)

Publishers Weekly - Zero–Waste Publishing (June 10, 2009)

Publishers Weekly - The Audacity of Hope (June 10, 2009)

IBPA Independent (formerly PMA) - Partnership Publishing: A New Model for Independents (June 10, 2009)

Book Business Magazine - A 'Green' Celebration (June 10, 2009)

Book Business Magazine - Cover Story: 50 Top Women in Book Publishing (May 18, 2009)

Kitchen Sync Podcast - Chelsea Green Publishers - Green Before Green was Green with Michael Weaver (April 8, 2009)

Blog Talk Radio - Margo Baldwin Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd (April 2, 2009)

Eco-libris Blog - A green publisher beats the recession! (February 18, 2009)

GalleyCat - Chelsea Green Publishing Reports Record Sales During Recession (February 9, 2009)

Culture Change - Secession: Why I Support A Second Vermont Republic (January 26, 2009)

My Essentia Blog - Eco-Books and Magazines For Word and Planet Lovers (January 7, 2009)

MountainKeepers Blog - Chelsea Green (January 6, 2009)

Book Business Magazine - Working Toward the Point of No Returns: Chelsea Green Publisher and President Margo Baldwin on the company's Green Partners program (December 22, 2008)

Barre Times Argus - Between the Lines (November 3, 2008)

Amazon - Interview: Listen to Margo Baldwin on Politics and Publishing (October 21, 2008)

Bookdwarf - A post in which I will try not to use any profanity (August 21, 2008)

Huffington Post - A Tale of Two Obama Books: Why Do Progressives Still Not Get It? (August 20, 2008) - Ready to Write that Green Book? (July 1, 2008)

Treehugger - Save Energy the Shagadelic Way: How to Insulate Your Refrigerator (June 26, 2008)

The Oko Box Blog - Chelsea Green Looking For Green Guide Authors (June 24, 2008)

Earth Surf - Calling All Authors (June 16, 2008) - Ready to Write That Green Book? (June 13, 2008)

Green-Trust.Org - Chelsea Green Looking for Authors (June 9, 2008)

Publishers Weekly - Publishers working to replace print catalogs (May 19, 2008) - As books fil dumps, publishers target return policy (May 6, 2008)

Book Business Magazine - A 'Green' Celebration (April 28, 2008)

Eco-libris Blog - Getting to Scale: Growing Your Business Without Selling Out - An Interview with Jill Bamburg (April 25, 2008)

Publishers Weekly - Indies' Experiments Pay Off (February 25, 2008)

Publishers Weekly - How Does Our Gardening Grow? (February 25, 2008) - Positive Power Spotlight: Chelsea Green Publishing (January 16, 2008)

Green Press Initiative - U.S. Publishers, Printers, and Mills Committed to Environmental Innovation (September 13, 2007)

Booktrix blog - Book Business and Environment Economics: Belated Post #2 (July 20, 2007)

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Getting Serious About the Environment (July 16, 2007)

Orion Magazine - Bye, Bye, Miss American Empire (July 1, 2007)

Reading Under the Covers blog - BEA: The End (June 26, 2007)

American Booksellers Association - Seeing Green: Publishers Strive to Become Eco-Friendly (June, 2007)

Reading Under the Covers blog - BEA Party Girl: Chelsea Green (June 16, 2007)

Treehugger - Green Publishers: Turning Over a New Leaf (June 4, 2007)

Shelf Awareness - Off to BEA! (May 30, 2007)

Shelf Awareness - BEA NYC: LongPen, Birthdays, Backlist, Green Publishing (May 30, 2007)

Knitting on the Sunnyside blog - Sorry, no rabbit pics! (May 30, 2007)

Vermont Daily Briefing Website - Vermont Guardian Pulls Down the Shutters; Assorted Green Mountain Evil-Doers Breath Unexpected Sign of Relief (May 17, 2007)

Vermont Commons - Reclaiming Our Commons (May 17, 2007)

Vermont Guardian - Vermont Guardian to cease publication (May 16, 2007)

Vermont Guardian - Chelsea Green Publishing hires new editor, plans online content expansion (May 15, 2007)

Robin Hill Gardens Blog - Reading Up and Chelsea Green Publishing (May 10, 2007)

Barre Times Argus - Chelsea Green's how-to manuals for Planet Earth (April 18, 2007)