Hello everyone.  My name is Leslie Long and my fiance is Sam Fite.  We are in the process of downsizing to reduce our debt in preparation for our retirement in 10 years. We have been doing research for a couple of years now and visited many tiny home shows and tiny home manufacturers.  We live in the Heart of the state (actually the Heart of Peace River) in Bowling Green, Florida and there are many people here and further South that are interested in building smaller.

Some events claim to be “charitable” but never actually tell you how much goes to the charity and how much is kept as ‘management fees.’ We believe that transparency is the key to success and we pledge to always tell how much we donate and/or if we lose money.  We lost money in 2017 because there were a lot of expenses the first year.  This year we hope to earn enough to begin building a Habitat house for a deserving family here in Hardee County! WE ARE A 100% CHARITABLE EVENT and ALL money collected will be given to organizations that are near to our hearts. No management fees are paid and we are ALL volunteers!  I (Leslie) will be donating to Habitat for Humanity of Hardee County. We have a crucial need for affordable housing here and it is not just a job for me, it’s my passion.  Sam is a former EMT/Firefighter so we will also be donating to our local First Responders by purchasing defibrillators for all of the police cars in Bowling Green.

I am the Executive Director for our local Habitat for Humanity affiliate and because I have been a non-profit manager and Event Director for many years,  I decided we could host one here – in the center of the state of Florida.  We have a beautiful park that is perfect as the venue for the 2nd Annual SW Florida Tiny House Expo.  We chose Hardee Lakes Park  because it has more than 1200 acres with 4 lakes so there is space for camping in addition to the expo itself, and room for future growth.  I have managed huge events for 20+ years for a variety of non-profit and for profit entities.  I love that I can now manage an event that is part of MY passion to build affordable housing her in Florida.

It costs a lot of money to host an event like this and we look for SPONSORS to offset expenses.  I applaud everyone who takes it on and is successful.  It is not a great money maker and we are not in competition with any other events. We just want to share information and ideas with like-minded individuals to create a more sustainable way of life in order to reduce our carbon footprint.  Someone once said “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we borrow it from our children.”  I would like to leave as much of it intact as I can for our children and future generations to enjoy.

We are really just trying to bring the experts in the industry together so that people can brainstorm and learn from each other.  It’s about more than just tiny homes….it’s about sharing what we know and exchanging information with others who live and work on creating a sustainable lifestyle in order to reduce our carbon footprint.  I’m really excited about the strides they are making in the solar industry and my hope is to have a 100% solar home one day. Whether or not it’s on wheels, remains to be seen 🙂