News & Story Ideas
Agrihoods such as Olivette are part of a nationwide trend of communities designed to foster connections between people, their food, and the environment. Olivette’s founders discuss how people benefit when communities are built around gardens, trails, streams, forests, and other natural features.
Millennials want walkability and a sense of community. Seniors don’t want to be isolated or live in institutional settings. Families seek safe, healthy neighborhoods for their kids. And now the effects of the pandemic have more people looking to live where they can play outdoors and telework from home. Olivette’s experts discuss how agrihoods deliver on all fronts.
Built around a working organic farm, Olivette provides produce to Asheville area restaurants and residents of the community and beyond through its CSA (community-supported agriculture) program. Olivette’s experts share how a CSA operates and the benefits it provides.
At Olivette, pesticides are banned, native plants are required, and all houses rely on development-wide geothermal heating and cooling and must meet high standards for energy efficiency. "Our first act as developers was to plant a 500-plant blueberry orchard," founding partner William "Tama" Dickerson says. He and other Olivette experts discuss how people can make their own homes and gardens more environmentally friendly.
Installing a single geothermal heat pump is estimated to have the equivalent environmental benefit of planting 750 trees. At Olivette, development-wide geothermal heating and cooling benefits residents and the environment. Experts explain how this clean, sustainable, and efficient technology cuts energy bills and fossil fuel use while keeping homes comfy.
Olivette’s community chefs share some of their favorite recipes for making the most of produce in season, from winter squash curry to jalapeño lime blackberry jam.
Family, community, education, and sustainable happiness are Olivette’s core values and major reasons why the community was recognized by the NC Home Builders Association as Community of the Year and Best Sustainable Community. Olivette’s founders discuss principles for developing healthy, connected communities.
The term agrihoods is new, but the concept isn’t. For millennia before the industrial revolution, people lived in communities built around farms and close to the sources of their food. Olivette experts discuss the perennial pull of the “back to the land” ethic — and how increased environmental consciousness and feelings of isolation due to technology are fueling a renaissance of livable, walkable communities built around farming.
Olivette’s visionary founders chose the site of a former family farm as the spot to plant seeds of community, healthy food and sustainability. Residents discuss why they are choosing farm-to-table living for their health and families in the face of massive uncertainty fueled by the pandemic.
Olivette founding partner Allison Smith is a North Carolina Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in addition to her role helping to plan, design and develop the agrihood and its community-building events. She discusses how time in nature can help people relieve stress they feel due to the massive disruption that the pandemic has caused in their lives.
Founders of Olivette discuss how they have designed programs and amenities to foster community, including campfires, dog meet-ups, community gardens, shared bikes, and trails— and how they have adapted to social distancing rules while working to maintain a “summer camp” feel.
With the global food industry struggling to cope with lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions from the war in Ukraine, the local food movement gives people healthy options that are thousands of miles fresher.
Planning carefully and sparing no expense, Olivette spent an additional $400,000 to assure its roads were up to standards of the Town of Woodfin, and built sewer lines connecting with the Municipal Sewage District, rather than individual septic systems that would have required cutting down many more trees. These are among measures the developers have taken to shield homeowners from high maintenance costs, and protect nature.
Olivette's founders have remained its managing partners to assure that their vision for Western North Carolina's first agrihood is fulfilled. "We are an extremely small group for a project of our size, done intentionally," founding partner Scott Austin says. "We wanted to make sure that the Genesis were still the people in control of the steering wheel, and that is mission critical to us as we grow. By very nature, we are a slower developing community than others, but that is 100% by design."
Olivette residents are bringing new ideas for community events and amenities, from outdoor concerts and driveway jam sessions to plans for mountain bike trails and family campsites. "We had that original vision and yes, we're adhering to it, but it's becoming so much more beyond that," founding partner Allison Smith says. "We have residents that are contributing in really meaningful ways that keep us moving forward and inspired."