Welcome to the online press kit for Olivette
Cultivating Crops & Community
Connecting people with nature, food, and each other, Olivette Riverside Community and Farm is leading the agrihood movement with Asheville, N.C.’s first organic farm-to-table community
Many people feel disconnected from the natural world, the sources of their food, and a sense of real community. Amid growing concern about climate change and environmental degradation, they seek fellowship with others who enjoy healthy food, outdoor lifestyles, and sustainable living in harmony with nature.
Meeting this desire for farm-to-table living, Olivette Riverside Community and Farm is a 346-acre farm-based “agrihood” along the French Broad River a few miles north of Asheville, N.C. Everything at Olivette is designed to feed people’s need to connect with nature, locally-grown organic produce, and community.
Olivette is the only true agrihood in Western North Carolina with a full time farmer and a fully operational organic farm, says founding partner Allison Smith. It is built to foster connections among residents and with the land. Residents can grab a community bike to ride across the park-like property, or join in community events like outdoor farm-to-table dinners.
“Farm-to-table is the ultimate slow food — you're watching it grow and really connected in that way,” Allison says. “And those connections spill over in community. There's a shared excitement when people start cooking with whatever's coming in and swapping recipes. It’s a great way to get people connected.”
Residents also share a commitment to living sustainably on the land. The community requires geothermal heating and cooling, a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score of 55 or lower, and encourages other green building practices such as passive and active solar design. Many residents have gone beyond these energy efficiency requirements to build net-zero homes.
“We’re working to do our best to make a difference in the world of climate change by plugging into the best building practices,” founding partner William “Tama” Dickerson says.
Summer Camp Living
Olivette’s amenities and activities are designed to create a “summer camp” feel year-round, says Scott Austin, one of the community’s developer/partners.
“My passion is born out of camping — to bring the idea of a summer camp to Olivette,” he says. “It’s easy to build an area that has front porch living, but if you don't give people things to do, if you don't give them things to create the community, then it's just people living in homes. So we take the idea of programming a step further to give people things to do. Whether it's farm-to-table dinners or a book club or canning classes, or getting them together for a monthly baking challenge, it’s giving the community a reason to be together and creating that camp feeling.”
Know Your Farmer
Joe Evans, Olivette’s veteran full-time farmer, works to grow clean, nutrient-dense produce that connects people to the food they eat and the land where it grows. An active member of the local farming community, he shares methods, tools, and growing practices while educating interns to become farmers.
Operating a four-season organic farm involves planting cover crops, propagating seeds in greenhouses during the colder months, and then transplanting the seeds into the field for spring and summer growing. Olivette provides organic produce for residents and the greater Asheville community through its Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. People buy shares and then pick up fresh produce weekly at the farm or at the Asheville City Market.
“It is our hope to cultivate a community of folks that are fed in more ways than just food,” Joe says.
Olivette’s team also includes Elliott Nailen, an expert in energy-efficient, sustainable building practices and a HERS Rater and Realtor; and Arica Haro, the community’s Event Coordinator, who organizes gatherings such as farm-to-table dinners by the river. Olivette’s experts are available to discuss topics and trends including:
* Agrihoods and the farm-to-table movement.
* Year-round organic growing.
* Sustainable development.
* Housing solutions for the new millenium.
* Design principles for healthy, connected communities.
Cultivating a Legacy
The first act of Olivette’s developers was to plant 500 blueberry bushes. As caretaker and steward, Tama developed a plan that designates spaces for wildlife corridors and habitat as well as homes and gardens. His vision can be seen in projects such as a labyrinth, a private river island, miles of hiking trails, and a 7-acre riverfront park. He is also working with residents to plant additional orchards — for food security, beautification, natural habitat, and the future
“I love the technology of sustainability we're putting in here. It's amazing. But I don't wake up every day and think of that,” he says. “It’s all about the Earth for me.”
Download Olivette's One Pager.
Learn more at www.olivettenc.com.