Publisher of Growing Online Magazine Aims to Expand into Print

Jessica Johnston, the publisher of Asparagus, an online guide to living a sustainable lifestyle, is crowdfunding to expand her audience with an eco-friendly print edition.

Carly LeMoine By Carly LeMoine

Asparagus is an elegant online magazine covering how to live an ecologically sustainable lifestyle. Jessica Johnston, its founder, is now looking to expand its audience by introducing a print edition — one that stays true to her environmental values.

Johnston has worked in media for 14 years — and for the past 10 has been dreaming about starting a publication that would be a trusted resource for people who “want to help build a just society on a healthy planet.”

She is building Asparagus upon “a belief in science; a belief in justice; a belief in journalism and in art, in laughter and in vegetables,” she says in the Asparagus Manifesto, her official declaration of purpose.

It took a year of research and planning, but her dream became reality when she launched Asparagus online in February 2018. Based in Vancouver, it delves into ecological issues on the West Coast of North America in researched articles written by her and a team of freelance contributors.

Now, Johnston wants to deliver those stories in a print magazine, and prove that can be done in an ecologically friendly way. “When I researched magazine publishing’s carbon footprint for my master’s degree, I found an industry making endless excuses for why it couldn’t print on environmentally responsible paper,” she says in her crowdfunding campaign.

Magazine paper tends to be high-quality, and thus a bigger player in deforestation, paper mill pollution and heavy use of water during production. By using 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper, Johnston will mitigate the ecological impact of her magazine — and show that it’s not only possible, but necessary to reduce the paper industry’s impact on the planet.

“The world of publishing has certainly changed in recent decades, but there are still plenty of successful magazines,” she says. Johnston wants to be a part of a new and improved magazine industry.

The Money: Johnston is running a crowdfunding campaign on IFundWomen to raise $10,000. The money will be used to pay contributors, print the first issue on 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper, and distribute the magazine to subscribers and newsstands. She has 27 days left to reach her goal.

Posted: July 6, 2018

Carly LeMoinePublisher of Growing Online Magazine Aims to Expand into Print