Chelsea Green Publishing

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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 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. This move was made to, in part, practice what we publish. In addition, the long-term goal of converting the ownership to an ESOP is aimed at keeping Chelsea Green an independent publisher, keeping its roots firmly planted in Vermont, and ensuring that the publishing vision started in 1984 lives far into the future.

We have more than 350 titles in print, our best-selling titles include:

The Art of Fermentation. This was our fourth New York Times Bestseller and our first James Beard Foundation Book Award winner (for Reference and Scholarship). With a foreword by Michael Pollan, this book is the most comprehensive and definitive guide to fermentation. By the end of 2014, less than two years after it was published, The Art of Fermentation had sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide. Another perennial bestseller is Katz’s first book, Wild Fermentation, which is often pointed to as the book that fomented the fermentation revival.

Don't Think of an Elephant. George Lakoff's definitive handbook for progressives to understand and communicate effectively about key political issues started the national discussion on framing the political debate. More than 200,000 copies printed in six months, and more than 300,000 sold since its first printing. It remains a fundamental book on political messaging, and how to best communicate one’s message in a positive way.

The End of America, Naomi Wolf's gut-wrenching patriotic call to action. This New York Times Bestseller urges every American to recognize the fragility of freedom. Wolf catalogs the ten steps that governments have historically followed when shutting down an open society such as our own.

The Man Who Planted Trees, an ecological fable that has sold more than 300,000 copies in 18 years, setting a standard for quality of writing, beauty of design and illustration, creative publishing and inspirational message;

The Straw Bale House, a revolutionary building book that has sold more than 150,000 copies, launching the company's natural building and renewable energy list and helping establish our recognized leadership in this field;

Eliot Coleman's The Four-Season Harvest and The New Organic Grower are landmark books in sustainable agriculture and organic food, as his newer book The Winter Harvest Handbook, a popular DVD, and foreign-language editions continue to demonstrate his influence on farmers around the world; and,

A number of inspirational non-fiction trade titles, including Gaviotas, This Organic Life, Believing Cassandra and A Cafecito Story

Chelsea Green titles have received numerous awards, including ALA and Booklist Notable Books of the Year, the John Burroughs Medal, James Beard Award finalist, Garden Globe Award, and Foreword Reviews Books of the Year, as well as numerous Nautilus Book Awards and awards from the American Horticultural Society.

In 2012, Foreword Reviews named Chelsea Green its Independent Publisher of the Year for our “significant contributions in the categories of politics and sustainable living.” 

Our Mission, Vision, and Approach

Founded in 1984, Chelsea Green Publishing is regarded as a leading publisher of books on sustainable living. In 2006, we updated our company’s vision, purpose, and approach to continue to inspire staff, authors, shareholders and business partners:

Chelsea Green sees publishing as a tool for effecting cultural change. Our purpose is to reverse 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.

We seek to promote better understanding of natural systems as a global commons. We seek to empower citizens to participate in reclaiming the commons, to serve as its effective stewards, and to help mitigate worldwide social and environmental disruptions.

We seek to build a community of new voices that will empower and inspire individuals to reduce their ecological impact and to participate in the restoration of healthy local communities, bioregional ecosystems, and a diversity of cultures.

We accomplish this by publishing for the practice and politics of sustainability. We provide information about green building, organic growing, and renewable energy, while also providing information about democratic citizenship, political action, and cultural resistance and rebirth.

We are determined to remain an independent publisher, and to function as a sustainable business. This comprises responsible stewardship of our four types of capital, as follows:

Intellectual capital – cultivate collaborative, respectful relationships with authors and readers to share and grow a body of practical and political knowledge.

Social capital – increase our employees’ satisfaction, contribution, and reward through shared ownership; build existing and new readers’ commitment to our mission through web-based and other social networking.

Natural capital – reduce the ecological footprint of our publishing by using recycled paper and reducing transportation-related energy consumption.

Financial capital – structure the business to provide a return on shareholders’ capital and maintain independence through a capital investment strategy that can be financed internally.

Meet our employee owners of Chelsea Green.

Our Commitment to Green Publishing

As well as being a publisher of books for sustainable living, Chelsea Green is committed to being a sustainable business enterprise. This means reducing natural resource and energy use to the maximum extent possible. We print our books and catalogs on chlorine-free recycled paper, using soy-based inks, whenever possible, and we exclusively work with printers based in North America (and almost exclusively within the United States), rather than overseas. This keeps our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels to a minimum. We also maintain our own warehouse and distribution, which allows us to keep a close watch on inventory and ensure that books are handled and shipped with care.

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We are members of the Green Press Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the use of recycled paper in the book industry. Publishers who join the Green Press Initiative make a pledge that at least ten percent of their book titles will meet or exceed the Initiative's recycled content and bleaching process.

As part of our commitment to this process, we also include an environmental impact statement in each book we publish, identifying to readers how much trees, wastewater, solid waste, and greenhouse gases were conserved or mitigated by living up to these greener standards.

For more information please visit their site:

Chelsea Green is one of the first publishers to sign on to the Green Press Initiative. Above is the WorthIt logo we put on all our new books.

Company Timeline [An abbreviated history]


The Resilient Farm and Homestead wins the 2013 American Horticultural Society Book Award

Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land won the Silver Medal in the Garden Writers Association Book Award

Good Morning, Beautiful Business by Judy Wicks won a Gold Medal in the Nautilus Book Award’s Business and Leadership category

Cows Save the Planet by Judith Schwartz won a Silver Medal in the Nautilus Book Award’s Green Living/Sustainability category

Chelsea Green Publishing celebrates its 30th anniversary with the publication of The Chelsea Green Reader

2013 The Art of Fermentation wins the James Beard Foundation Book Award – a first in company history – in the Reference and Scholarship category


The Art of Fermentation becomes the fourth New York Times bestseller in company history

The Holistic Orchard Wins the 2012 American Horticultural Society Book Award

Chelsea Green Named ForeWord Reviews Independent Publisher of the Year

Chelsea Green becomes an employee-owned company

Sex and the River Styx by Edward Hoagland wins the prestigious John S. Burroughs Award for environmental writing, only the second author in company history to achieve this honor.


Chelsea Green opens its Burlington, Vermont office [closed as of Aug. 2016]

Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares by Greg Marley wins the International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award

2009 Book Business Magazine Names Margo Baldwin One of the Top 50 Women in Publishing


Obama's Challenge is published, becomes a New York Times bestseller

The Carbon-Free Home by Stephen and Rebekah Hren is Awarded Foreword's Book of the Year Award - Gold Winner

Chelsea Green Named Longtime Leader in Sustainability by SustainPrint Leadership Awards

Distributed Author Joel Salatin wins a Heinz Award

Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier Wins the American Horticultural Society Book Award


The End of America is published, becomes a New York Times bestseller

Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeier is Awarded Foreword's Book of the Year Award - Gold Winner

2006 Chelsea Green Named 2005 Publisher of the Year by New England Independent Booksellers Association


Chelsea Green publishes our first New York Times Bestseller is published — Don’t Think of an Elephant!

Chelsea Green publishes Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz, which helps to spark a fermentation revolution in the US

1997 Chelsea Green moves to White River Junction, Vermont 

1994 Chelsea Green publishes The Straw Bale House, which remains one of the company’s all-time bestselling books, and helped to spur a natural building movement in the US.

1989 Chelsea Green publishes The New Organic Grower by Eliot Coleman, which quickly became one of the company’s all-time bestselling books, and helped to spur a renewal in organic farming and gardening.

1988 Author Larry Kilham is awarded the prestigious John Burroughs Medal for his book On Watching Birds

1985 Chelsea Green's first book—In a Pig's Eye—is published!

1984 Chelsea Green is Founded