Shawn Smith - founder & managing partner | Shawn is an interdisciplinary entrepreneur and investor. She began as a real estate consultant at LandVest, a prominent real estate firm in Boston with a boutique consulting group. She joined LandVest because of its land conservation work for high net worth and institutional clients. There, she trained in complex land and conservation planning, valuation, and luxury real estate marketing and brokerage. She spearheaded the opening of the consulting group’s Vermont office, where she managed conservation, intrafamily planning, pre-disposition analysis, and property tax grievance work for the company. After seven years, Shawn’s entrepreneurial instinct took hold and she left LandVest to start Earth Asset.
Shawn has 16 years of diverse but interrelated real estate experience spanning valuation/appraisal, pre-acquisition due diligence, disposition defense, marketing and representation, long-term ownership planning, revenue-generation analysis, exit-strategy formulation, valuation, land conservation (planning, valuation, easement negotiation, easement consolidation/amendment), property tax planning, 1031 exchange, and land management and stewardship. She specializes in ecologically significant, regionally iconic, conserved, large acreage, timberland, super luxury, renewable energy systems, green designed and built structures, and mixed-use real estate assets. Her relationship bandwidth is equally extensive, ranging from high net worth individuals, academic and investment institutions, to land rich-cash poor individuals and farmers, governmental bodies, and local, regional, national and international NGO’s, and her work has crossed the national and international landscape.
Shawn has planned for and valued over $1 Billion in real estate assets, and has participated in over $160 Million in real estate asset disposition, price defense, marketing and sales projects, with nearly all transactions yielding record-setting prices.
Her real asset experience is complemented by her work on Capitol Hill, service on a local planning commission, and representation of clients to local and state permit approval boards as well as land trusts. She appreciates the importance of real human connections, and her authenticity and transparency help cement meaningful and long-lasting collaborations with stakeholders and key decision-makers. Underlying all of Shawn's work is meticulous due diligence, and tireless persistence to getting the job done with integrity.
Shawn attended the US Naval Academy for 3 years, holds a BA from Iowa State University, a JD and Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School, a Permaculture Design Certificate from Geoff Lawton's Permaculture Research Institute-Australia, and an Advanced Nutritarian Studies Certificate from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Nutritional Education Institute.
Shawn is an animal lover, athlete, and vegan Nutritarian.
Melissa Hoffman - partner | Melissa is the Founder and Executive Director of LivingFuture Foundation, whose mission is to promote innovation at the intersection of ecology, economy, and culture. She is the creative force behind the foundation’s flagship project, SHO Farm (historically known as Teal Farm), located in Huntington, Vermont. SHO Farm is a $20-million, 1300-acre integrated campus of regenerative food, energy, and building systems designed to host further innovation. Melissa oversaw the design of food, renewable energy, and building systems at SHO Farm with the conviction that these elements could not be effective unless designed in relationship to one another for the purpose of freeing human attention from the constraints of problem-based thinking. As a result, SHO Farm is one of Vermont’s most iconic demonstrations of state-of-the-art food, energy and building systems, all while expressing a refined aesthetic and respect for the greater work ahead. The numerous dimensions involved in creating SHO Farm--costly and failed wind tower permitting, the pursuit of an idealistic design, lessons in cost management, coordinating a large, multi-faceted team of excellent professionals committed to learning new approaches, renewable energy and systems commissioning, using unusual building materials, exhaustive research on the best food, energy and building systems--have equipped Melissa to advise those wishing to create their own models of lasting legacy.
Melissa holds a BA in Philosophy from Mount Holyoke College, and conducted graduate studies in Film and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She went on to study organic agriculture and biodynamics, before devoting many years to spiritual practice and inquiry in a modern monastery. She joined Earth Asset in 2010. Together, LivingFuture and Earth Asset are designing new land investment strategies that combine proven ecosystem-enhancing land management practices with perennial agricultural systems designed for optimal ecological, wildlife and human health.
Melissa began her professional career in 1985 on the editorial staff of the Christian Science Monitor, went on to start an organic farm, CSA, and apprenticeship program for women, and later returned to journalism as an editor and writer for What is Enlightenment?/EnlightenNext magazine, later serving on the Board of Directors for its founding organization. She currently serves as a Trustee for Women4Evolution, a non-profit that supports cultural evolution through philanthropy, women’s leadership, and the funding of cutting edge projects. She is also a musician, photographer, and chef-in-training, researching plant-based gastronomy and developing fine cuisine around Nutritarian and permaculture principles.