An Interview with Celine MacKay

Photo by Ever Images from Celine MacKay’s personal archives

While flipping through issue 13 of Uppercase magazine, an advertisement for Pure Green magazine caught my eye. An independent quarterly print publication created by a team of eco-conscious creatives from Ontario, Canada, Pure Green brings diversity in green design to the forefront. It’s a gorgeously designed and curated magazine that emphasizes the beauty and style of green living and highlights small businesses

and green designers worldwide. It kind of reminds me of Carter Oosterhouse’s HGTV series in 2008, RedHot & Green, but with so much more to offer in print form.

Pure Green is deeply rooted in the idea that being green has a lot more to do with recycling paper, plastic, and tin cans as many of us were taught in grade school. Being and living green also involves using products with environmentally-friendly

contents and hones in on reducing our carbon footprint by embracing and supporting our local communities — like buying locally-grown food, which Editor-In-Chief Celine MacKay explains in our interview with her. Read on to find out more about Celine who shares her inspiration behind Pure Green, a few easy tips about being and living green, and who shares what she enjoys about nature.

Share little bit about yourself.
Well, I’m a small-town girl through and through. I was born and raised in a town in central Ontario north of Toronto, Huntsville to be more exact, which is in a beautiful region known as Muskoka, a summertime refuge for many — surrounded by lakes, Muskoka is cottage country. Bordering the town is Algonquin park, a national park that is known around the world for its beautiful lakes, trails and natural habitat that covers 7,630 km²!! Its a serious camping destination that I’m lucky to have in my backyard. After having explored a wee bit (I lived in Florida for a few winters where I was riding horses for a living and competing) I found myself back in Huntsville, where I met my husband Jonathan (also Pure Green’s food editor). The two of us operate another business called Sustain which specializes in green building and design.

Pure Green Issue 2

Photo by Christian Mouzzard

Share a little bit about Pure Green.
Pure Green began from my desire to share how stylish and accessible green living could be. We cover style, homes, design, travel, books, food, recipes and more. It grew from a blog, then an online publication and finally, most recently, a quarterly print magazine. In many ways each issue feels more like a book than a magazine — we work hard to keep the content timeless and relevant so that it can be collected and referred back to again and again. The design is simple yet every detail is carefully tended to so that the final product feels cohesive and pleasant to read. No matter which page you land on you know you are reading Pure Green. This is thanks to the amazing team that I work with. We’re a small group, but the core is composed of myself, Jonathan, Anile Prakash, Design Director, Michelle Carangi, Style Director, Erin Monett, Director of Photography, Bess Callard, Illustrator, Erica Midkiff, Copy Editor, and then a team of contributors we are delighted to work with each issue. Our audience is anyone interested in living stylishly and living well.

coriander girl from Pure Green magazine / photo by Joseph+Jaime

Photo by Joseph+Jaime


Lastly, Pure Green is printed on uncoated paper that is 100% post-consumer recycled, manufactured in Quebec with bio-fuel and chlorine-free. We print in Toronto using waterless processing with vegetable based ink.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Busy! I work between both businesses Monday through Saturday. One of the best parts of my day is walking our dog, Rusty (a Viszla), on trails near our home. The evening is usually spent preparing food together at home and I’m guilty of having to answer emails, blogging or working on the new issue most nights. Peppered in each week are photo shoots and scheduled appointments/meetings/interviews, and the odd event or business trip. It’s a very busy but fulfilled life.

Organic Kitchen via Pure Green

Photo by Ever Images

What are some simple ways to be/live green that you would encourage others to try?
For me living green is about finding things that you can incorporate into your everyday life. I want it to feel effortless and sensible. I want to feel proud of my efforts, not guilty that I’m not doing more. I’ve found the ways that make sense to incorporate into my life and the challenge those things presented led to new discoveries. Find the things you are passionate about and start there. A good example for me is food. Clearly, as Jonathan is our food editor, a lot of our life revolves around good food. It’s something you must consume each and every day, and when you look closely, our food system isn’t very sustainable. Find local sources and subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) — trust me, its awesome! Good organic veggies are great, but include meat too! We’ve found a meat CSA that we love as we now have constant access to healthy, ethically raised meats which we eat 1 to 2 times per week.

Another area that is easy to change is your household cleaners. Avoid chemically laden cleaners and go for natural options like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. There’s a ton of resources out there to help you do this.

Another way that is super important to consider are the personal care products that you use, in particular skin care and cosmetics, which are filled with chemicals that are really hard on your body. An amazing resource to find out more is You can seek out the products that you currently use and see how they stack up in terms of toxins, as well as search for better options.

sprouts from issue 2 of Pure Green magazine / Photo by Ever Images

Photo by Ever Images

Are you planning on introducing any special green-related projects/activities through Pure Green?
I would very much like to! We’re working on a few things at the moment but I must master my current workload before adding more. Building community is hugely important to what I do and what Pure Green stands for. We are quite involved locally and in Toronto with smaller groups and organizations. Our current issue, which centered around urban farming, introduced us to a lot of fabulous groups that I would like to continue supporting. I’m finding that as the magazine grows so does our network and I’m constantly finding new ways to engage with and support amazing initiatives.

What are some things you love about nature?
Just being a part of it. I find it very grounding and I need a little bit of it each and every day. Walking on trails through the forest is a very important part of my de-stressing routine and I’m constantly inspired by what I see. Animals too are a big part of that, both my dog Rusty and my horse Annie. Finally, I have a super rustic, off-grid camp that’s been in my family for a long time in Georgian Bay. The rough landscape and open water creates an environment like no other. As soon as I arrive I leave everything behind me and just enjoy.

You can subscribe to Pure Green online through their website or in stores at these locations.

Catch a daily dose of Pure Green on their blog that not only presents you with a behind-the-scenes look at the magazine, but is also overflowing with stylish ideas for green living.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

2 replies on “An Interview with Celine MacKay

  1. Ooh, cool that the latest volume is all about urban farming! There’s a really cool urban farm in Chicago called Growing Power. They have tilapia fish growing in a barrel in their greenhouse. Bringing food to where the people are = awesome!

  2. I agree 100% with buying locally-grown foods and also growing vegetables and fruits in your yard.

    Great interview!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *