William “Tama” Dickerson was born and raised in Nashville, TN, but fell in love with the mountains of North Carolina in 1979. He put down roots in Cherokee, spending three years off the grid as a caretaker in a log cabin, living in harmony with the land around him. This early experience has influenced his career ever since; he’s always been a caretaker and shaper of the earth, living with nature in a respectful, interactive way.
He describes his role at Olivette Riverside Community as being entrusted with the care and development of “everything horizontal.” Specifically, Tama decides which areas of the 346-acre property will be wildlife corridors and what’s going to be protected. The land plan he oversees is designed to ensure that the development honors the land long term, including designating natural spaces that encourage residents to interact with the water, forest, and land, as well as with the other inhabitants that live there. His vision can be seen in such projects as the labyrinth, a private river island, several miles of hiking trails, and the 7-acre riverfront park.
Tama also was instrumental in bringing the agrihood concept to Olivette. He is introducing permaculture to the development in the form of edible landscapes throughout the property.
According to Tama, “Olivette Riverside Community and Farm is a culmination of every aspect of what’s important to me in one place—sustainability, community, spirituality, gardening, diversity, creativity, and shaping and honoring the land. “
He is also founder of Paint Rock Farm, in Hot Springs, NC, developing and designing all aspects of the accommodation of this property, which offers glamping, retreats, and a wedding venue. Tama has developed several other vacation retreats and developments in the region, always going out of his way to lightly develop the land and leave plenty of wide-open spaces.