Just over the border in Vermont is a company that really lives up to its name. Chelsea Green, based in White River Junction, has been publishing books on sustainable living for 25 years, and it’s a company that practices what it preaches: It’s taken steps to reduce natural resource and energy use by printing most of its books on chlorine-free recycled paper with soy-based inks.
The company was founded in 1984 by Margo and Ian Baldwin, who had moved to Vermont from New York City. According to Taylor Haynes, the company’s marketing coordinator, the Baldwins wanted to “work together on something creative and also make a living, as good jobs were not so easy to find.” The Baldwins named the company after the Vermont town they lived in, Chelsea, which was known as “Chelsea Green” because it had two greens instead of one, Haynes says.
One of the first books Chelsea Green published was “The Man Who Planted Trees,” an ecological fable. Since then, the company has published more than 400 titles, including the New York Times bestsellers “The End of America,” by Naomi Wolf, and “Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency,” by Robert Kuttner.
The company has evolved since its early days: What was once a startup now employs 21 people and is seen as the preeminent publisher of books on sustainable living. Its book topics run the gamut, including organic gardening and local agricultural movements, natural science and ecology, green building and renewable energy and political activism and social commentary.
And over the years, it has honed its mission. Today, announces the company on its website, “a new worldwide grassroots movement is taking shape. . . . People increasingly feel that they have no choice: In order to continue living, they must reclaim, must lay claim to their ecosystems, their food and water, their land and housing, their sufficiencies. . . . 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.” It continues: “Our purpose is: to stop the destruction of the natural world by challenging the beliefs and practices that are enabling this destruction and by providing inspirational and practical alternatives that promote sustainable living.”
To give you an idea of the range of Chelsea Green’s offerings, we’ve reviewed some books. (Just click on the photos to read the reviews.) If you’d like to know more, look for its books in these local stores: Main Street Book Ends of Warner, River Run in Portsmouth, Gibson’s in Concord, the three Toadstool locations, Water Street Books Exeter and Village Square in Bellows Falls. And to see the full list of Chelsea Green’s titles and learn more about the company, visit chelseagreen.com.