Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog


Green Real Estate Asheville: Interview with Eco Developer- Hickory Nut Forest Mountain Community

I had the pleasure of sitting down with John Myers and Jane Lawson the developers of the Hickory Nut Forest GREEN/conservation community near Asheville, NC not long ago. We talked about what it takes to create such a community- their philosophy and how they designed and developed the land. Here is a segment of our conversation.



Q. How long has it taken to create the Hickory Nut Forest eco-community?

A. We have been involved in the process of creating community for nearly five years. It has been an amazing journey that has taken on a life of its own. We started out with a vision to conserve some beautiful land in the mountains of North Carolina.

We wanted to be stewards of this sacred place with its amazing forests, waterfalls, living plants and animals. As we have come to know the land intimately, we feel guided to keep expanding our vision.

Q How have you expanded on your vision to conserve this gorgeous land in the mountains of North Carolina?

We created homesites for up to 34 green-built homes, added an organic apple orchard and heirloom vineyard, placed a conservation easement on the mountain and built miles of hiking trails.

(photo shows John and Jane at one of the many waterfalls on the property the are developing near Chimney Rock just outside of Asheville, NC. )

 Q How do you see the growth of Hickory Nut Forest into the mature "Green Community" you envision, and will it be  a "Private Mountain Community"?

A. As new people have arrived, they have brought their enthusiasm and dreams to the community. [One of the first to arrive] Ryan was inspired to develop a community garden and with student interns created a veggie patch, an herb circle, mushroom logs, and added beehives and free-range chickens. 

Folks wanted to have a gathering place, so we started building a community center at the ruins of an old gristmill. This vision has grown into creating Laughing Waters, a retreat site for year-round classes, workshops and student internships that we hope to have open by spring. 

We are allowing the community to grow slowly and naturally through sharing this magical place with all who come to visit. Our free monthly events have included a bluegrass concert, apple fests, hikes, herb walks, bonfire/potlucks and kids' educational programs. People have initially come for a visit and then decided to live here.

Q. What is your guiding principle or intention? 

From the beginning our guiding intention has been simply to approach everything and everyone with love and respect: our neighbors, all the people working on various projects, our visitors, the land and the water, the plants and animals, and each other. We feel such a powerful healing energy from this land. Our role is simply to make it possible for people to come here and experience it for themselves. 

FURTHER READING on how to recognize an eco-friendly development


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THIS is the requested follow-up interview with answers to some of your questions from the developers of Hickory Nut Forest.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) over 9 years ago

I love the concept...the stewardship of the land and resources, the sense of community surrounding...

Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) over 9 years ago

Out of curiosity, do they have plans for a completely self-containted community with their own power generation and water?

That would be the ultimate.  That's the concept I'm pursuing here with what I'm doing.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) over 9 years ago

This is terrific.  These folks certainly are leading the way to help others build similar eco-friendly communities.  Keep us posted as this develops further.  I love the idea of the community garden... truly part of what makes a "community."

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 9 years ago

I am so impressed with their vision.  To respect the land and build a community.  It looks like an oasis, just beautiful.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 9 years ago

janeAnne, what are prices like for the smaller land portions? I have lots of other questions, but then it might sound like we're ready to move there. Would like to have some more basic information, and as they say on radio "I'll take my answers off the air" when you have a moment.

Posted by Sherry Siegel, Managing Broker, EcoBroker, ABR (BrokersGroup, serving Sequim and Port Angeles) over 9 years ago

A wonderful gentle respect for the land and for those people and their ideas to come.

Eco-stewardship at its best

Posted by Jeremy Watney over 9 years ago

Hi JaneAnne, as I read this again the old seems new again.

I am excited by the idea of a true community that surrounds this ECO development. This is something our anscestors knew so well. Green communities seem to be so much more open to this idea.

The sharing of ideals and learning together is also very appealing!

Posted by Mary McGraw, 2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine! (GLREA) over 9 years ago

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