We are creating an alternative economy for sustainable living.
We pool what we’ve got, preserve it, then share it among the members. The Nichols Canyon Co-op was designed and created by Susan Proffitt (Mrs. Josh Wattles) in 2010. Based in Nichols Canyon in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, the Co-op has members throughout greater Los Angeles.
Nichols Canyon Co-op is a way for a community to share fruit and vegetables, preserve them by making jams, jellies, chutneys, pickles, marmalades, teas and herb blends, and then share the products with the Co-op members. Members join by contributing something, perhaps a bag of plums from their tree, a bag of sugar, canning jars, time and expertise, or simply the strawberries they bought but cannot use. We also pool our resources when we all want to try making something, such as the Fall 2011 Limoncello project, in which we are using our own lemons and limes and then purchasing the alcohol (vodka). We meet in one of our household kitchens and make the products, then distribute the jars to the Co-op members.
You can’t buy Nichols Canyon Co-op products, they are only distributed to members.
The Co-op strengthens a community through a common interest, connects neighbors, promotes recycling by using our own glass jars multiple times, and reduces green waste by using the excess produce that often ends up in our green trash collection. Additionally the Co-op promotes seasonal, regional cuisine and sustainability, as we explore ways to use and save what we already have. Co-op households with young children are able to teach them about preservation techniques that were essential in our history but are now seldom used in home kitchens. The Co-op maintains traditional preserving techniques, but updates recipes for contemporary palates by using less sugar and innovative flavor combinations. Members also share knowledge and tips, from how to save your figs from birds to drought tolerant planting. The Co-op also has a seed library, as seeds from our herbs, vegetables and fruit are banked. Co-op members share plant seedlings and cuttings as well.
Currently Susan teaches Co-op members how to make the recipes in small groups. The plan is for the Co-op to grow as these members teach others, and the Co-op model can expand into different communities. As members tell their friends about it, people can start their own Co-op in their neighborhood. Contact Susan to speak to your neighborhood association about how to do this in your community. It works everywhere!
Susan Proffitt (Mrs. Josh Wattles) is the founder and creative force of Nichols Canyon Co-op. She designed the Co-op’s structure to create an alternative economy for sustainable living. Susan creates the original recipes for Co-op products, including jams, jellies, preserves, pickles, cordials, dried herbs and candies. Members of the Co-op contribute their own produce or other supplies, get together to preserve it, then share the products among members. The Co-op maintains a seed library, and Susan conducts tutorials so that the members can teach their friends how to preserve their produce, and even start their own Co-ops. By continuously re-using the Co-op jars, diverting garden produce from green cans and using the whole fruit / vegetable / herb, the Co-op is a Zero-Waste Environmentally-Friendly organization that also promotes community self-sufficiency. The Co-op keeps traditional preserving methods alive and relevant to contemporary palates and dietary preferences, using up to 70% less sugar than commercial preserves by using natural pectin found in the whole fruit.