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!

About Susan:

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.

With a wide-ranging and diverse background in subjects from Mycology to Corporate Planning, Susan brings a  polymathic approach to social community design as well as culinary arts.  She grew up in San Francisco and attended UC Berkeley and CSU San Francisco.  She lives in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles with her husband and children.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. We live on the valley side of Nichols Canyon and have a lemon tree. We would love to be involved! I was just thinking of jarring some of our own cooked beans so they were available and then could stay away from those nasty cans! I’m wondering if you use agave in any of your recipes we stay sugar free!

    • It would be nice to open up a jar of your own beans for supper on a chilly evening, and they would be much tastier than the commercial products. And after all, there are times when our gardens simply produce more than we can eat, so canning things is a time-honored solution. When we use the term ‘canning’ we are talking about putting the food in glass jars that use canning lids and rings, not tin cans, and I know it can be a little confusing at first. Lemons are the base of nearly everything we do in the Co-op, from the base for a lavender jelly to the essential ingredient in a marmalade. The Co-op uses what people put in, and at this point we have just used sugar. But if anyone donates honey, agave, or other real sweeteners (as opposed to aspartame and saccharine, which require entirely different recipes and processes, and are not for this home cook, me) we will use them. One of my Co-op dreams is that a member has a hive and donates the honey!

  2. wow…well done! notify all of the members so they can ‘spread’ the word to all of their email contacts to see what is happening and maybe join.

    • Thanks so much, Lee, for the wonderful feedback and guidance. Lee is an incredible asset to the Co-op, and I appreciate her very much. Co-op members, please do SPREAD THE WORD, i.e., share the link, with your own circle of friends. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see this take hold in other communities? People sharing their ‘more than I can use’ produce, and then keeping and evolving the tradition of preserving fruit, this is a concept that can work in in just about every community. Instead of wasting it or throwing it out, put it in the communal preserve bin, and then share it!

      • Tim has been at the forefront of the drought tolerant gardening movement, and uses California native plants to create his traffic-stopping yard off Silverlake Blvd. in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Literally, in the spring when everything is in bloom, it transfixes everyone. Tim and his yard have been featured in both Sunset magazine and the LATimes, and he has influenced countless gardeners across Los Angeles and beyond.
        But this brings up a good point about the Nichols Canyon Co-op:you don’t have to live in Nichols Canyon to become a Co-op member! That is just where it happened to start, at my house. So bring over those aromatics, Tim, as we are going to do our own herb blend, similar to Herbes de Provence. Linda L also suggested using sage in a fig preserve, which does sound like a brillant combo. But we are still waiting for those figs…

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