Olivette is a 346-acre planned community and historic farm, located along the French Broad River, just 6.7 miles from downtown Asheville. An agrihood community is an alternative to the traditional neighborhood model, centering the community around a working farm. Olivette is home to a biodiverse vegetable, fruit and flower farm. The community also provides residents with seven acres of riverfront beach, a large private river island, several miles of walking trails, community-wide geothermal heating and cooling, community gardens, a pavilion and fire-circle amphitheater, Little Free Libraries, a bike-sharing program, and fiber-to-home broadband internet access.
The process of planning Olivette has been and continues to be thorough and thoughtful, and many extraordinary people have contributed to the vision. Our inspiration comes from the tireless work of Asheville visionaries, historians, educators, artists, farmers, architects, planners and community builders. A number of books have informed our vision for the community -- in particular, A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Murray Silverstein, and Sara Ishikawa; Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols; Sustainable Happiness by Sarah van Gelder; The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner; and The French Broad by Wilma Dykeman.
We envision a community in which our interactions with water, nature, food, community and lifelong learning are seamless and foster sustainable living. It's our vision to create a replicable model for developing healthy, connected communities using the best available practices that align with our core values of sustainability, community, family, education and happiness.
Honoring Olivette’s history is just one of our core values, but it is fundamental to everything we do. It’s difficult to put into context the age of the French Broad River. It is older than one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, which is why it meanders across the Blue Ridge instead of along it, flowing from south to north and then off to the west before merging with the Holston River near Knoxville, Tennessee. The Cherokee and other area native peoples made their home along the French Broad and in the adjacent forests, living in harmony with the fertile flood plains and abundant fisheries -- creating thriving and connected communities. Early European settlers eventually used the river basin as a path to bring livestock and harvests to market, passing within a few hundred feet of Olivette. For several decades, frequent trains stopped on the property at Olivette Station until passenger service was discontinued in the mid-20th century. The land that makes up Olivette and Olivette Farm was used mainly for pasturing animals, hunting, foraging and as a small family farm. Now, we are building a new kind of community -- one that looks forward but is propelled by the rich history of the place we call Olivette.
Well-being comes from an active mind, in addition to an active body, and there are many opportunities for lifelong learning at Olivette. We are working with a local educators to bring a K-8 school to the property that will provide opportunities for residents to share their experience and expertise with area children. Shared facilities will be used for farm education, health and wellness classes, book clubs, cooking classes, art instruction and much more. Throughout the community we will place informational markers that highlight native and edible plant species, animal habitats, area history, geology and geography. In addition, our critter cams will capture wildlife in motion in our conservation easements, and our weather station will contribute to the invaluable store of climate data. Finally, Little Free Libraries have been placed in convenient locations at neighborhood crossroads, make reading fun and accessible for residents of all ages.
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Elliott honed a number of valuable skill sets over a 20 year career with Sam’s Club, working his way from gathering shopping carts to managing Sam’s Club locations all over the southeast. After living in 7 cities in 7 years, he and his family transferred to Asheville, North Carolina, and quickly realized Asheville was the home where they would put down roots. Asheville’s people, the diversity of natural beauty, and the opportunity to commune with both, soon helped Elliott realize it was time to think about redirecting his professional efforts. After a 3 week immersion into the majestic beauty, mystery and isolation of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Elliott and his family made the decision to take a leap of faith and leave his corporate job of 20 years. As luck would have it, this leap landed Elliott’s feet solidly on a path that would eventually lead to what would quickly become his passion, Olivette Riverside Community and Farm. Elliott thinks “Olivette is truly on the cutting edge of responsible real estate development and community building.” He feels incredibly fortunate to bring his business acumen, interpersonal skills, appreciation of nature, and knowledge of energy efficient and sustainable building practices to the Olivette team in his role as a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater, and Realtor.
Arica heeded the call of entrepreneurism by moving to the mountains and starting Asheville Plays and the Haunted Trail. The Haunted Trail is her signature event performed annually at Pisgah Brewing Company. Previously, Arica served as Recreation Director at Salamander Hospitality. There she created the recreation program at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Tampa, Fl. She also served on the Salamander task force team to develop two 5 diamond resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Before Salamander Hospitality, she held the Recreation Manager position at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in Charleston, SC. At each location, Arica gained experience in delivering high quality programing to groups in a luxury resort setting. Arica earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Recreation Management and her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Spanish from Appalachian State University. She has been a member of the Resort and Commercial Recreation Association since 2003, serving on the Board of Directors including President in 2014. Arica’s true passion is creating opportunities for people to have fun and memorable experiences together.
Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Allison moved to the mountains of western North Carolina to attend UNC Asheville and never left. A founding partner of Olivette Riverside Community and Farm, Allison enjoys collaborating with the Olivette team on everything from branding and design, to community development, to planning future neighborhoods. A published author and designer, Allison is a contributing designer to twenty-four Lark Books on an array of topics ranging from home décor, to general crafting, to children’s titles. While not currently seeing clients, she is also a NC Licensed Professional Counselor and enjoys partnering with community members to provide coordinated supportive services for children and families that foster social, emotional, educational, and cultural growth. An active supporter of animal welfare and environmental causes, Allison lives in Asheville with her husband, Olivette founding partner William Dickerson, where they raised four amazing daughters together. She has been a NC licensed Real Estate Broker since 2005.
Joe’s passion for agriculture took root while working in coffee fields of Central America. His interest and experience further flourished while working on farms out west and for several prominent family farms in WNC. The thriving culinary climate and agricultural communities of WNC solidified his purpose to farm. In the fall of 2010, Joe started Paper Crane Farm, offering a robust CSA and supplying Asheville farmer’s markets and restaurants with quality produce for the last 7 years. It is his intention to grow clean, nutrient dense produce that not only connects people to the food they eat, but to the land from which it came. His desire to share methods, tools, and growing practices while educating interns transitioning to farmers has kept him an active member within the local farming community.
He believes that focusing on the soil is paramount to sustainable agriculture. Through thoughtful tillage and steady incorporation of organic matter builds fertile ground. After years of stewarding several parcels of land, Joe comes to Olivette with a passion to not only cultivate crops but connections with people. He shares in Olivette’s vision of community gathered around a working farm, and sustainable living that seamlessly transpires from the surrounding landscape.
Joe holds a B.S. in Psychology from The College of Charleston and can often be found in the field deciphering the language of plants. When he’s not farming he enjoys spending time with his family, working on their homestead and basking in the beautiful outdoors that WNC offers.