Local tiny home community wins award

Published on: June 13, 2019

Debbie Caneen listens as Lorrie Belovich, executive director of The Sustany Foundation, provides a summary of reasons why Caneen’s Circle Pond Tiny Home Community won a 2019 Sustainable Business Award in the Real Estate and Development category May 22 at the 11th annual Green Carpet Gala at Tampa Theatre.
THE SUSTANY FOUNDATION PHOTO

Circle Pond Tiny Home Community in Ruskin recognized for environmental sustainability

By LOIS KINDLE

When the Circle Pond Tiny Home Community was named a winner of The Sustany Foundation’s 2019 Sustainable Business Awards at the Tampa Theatre, its owner, Debbie Caneen, was elated.

“When they called out my property’s name, I raced to the stage,” she said. “It was such an honor for it to have been selected as a winner by the students of USF’s MUMA College of Business. “And I was proud to be recognized by the foundation, which promotes sustainability in our community and connects us with other like-minded business partners.”

Circle Pond Tiny Home Community received the award May 22 at the 11th annual Green Carpet Gala awards ceremony. The event honors companies and organizations of all sizes throughout the Tampa Bay area that embrace what it calls the triple bottom line: environmental stewardship, economic impact and social responsibility.

Debbie Caneen, left, and Sandy Council, right, pause for a photo with Pat Senda, who was dressed as Mother Earth for the 11th annual Green Carpet Gala’s 2019 Sustainable Business Awards ceremony.
THE SUSTANY FOUNDATION PHOTO

“We recognize companies that are doing things in a better way to affect people, the planet and profit,” said Lorrie Belovich, executive director of The Sustany Foundation. “Although our organization puts a bit more emphasis on the environmental piece, we’re the only organization in the Tampa area that places emphasis on all three.”

Belovich explained that the foundation recognizes every step forward, both small and large. “We’ve given the award to more than 100 organizations since 2007,” she said.

The Circle Pond Community is a former mobile home park that was repurposed in 2017 into a 4.5-acre affordable living community of tiny homes. Caneen removed the trailers from the property and by introducing sustainable housing, reduced electric consumption by 300%. She also began growing fruits and vegetables in a community garden and planted all kinds of fruit-bearing trees. Waste reduction, through composting and recycling, became a priority, as well. “I wish more companies would look into ways they could reduce their carbon footprint,” Caneen said. “Actually, we can all have a goal of zero waste to help.”

The Circle Pond Tiny Home Community provides sustainable living in the form of housing and a community garden full of fruits and vegetables. Its pond provides a variety of edible fish, including bass, tilapia and perch.
DEBBIE CANEEN PHOTO

Residents, who are all paraprofessionals, pay as little as $450 a month to rent a site for their tiny home. Rental fees also cover water, sewer, garbage, electricity and lawn maintenance. Other environmental amenities include beehives and a well on the property. A pond in the center of the community is full of edible fish like tilapia, bass and perch.

This is not the first time Circle Pond Tiny Home Community has been recognized. Last September, Caneen received a $1,000 Fulfill Your Destiny grant through the Helen Gordon Davis Center for Women as part of its Business Builder’s Award, and the money was used by Caneen to buy organic vegetable starts for the community garden.

This year, 45 finalists were selected from a field of more than 100 nominees, and 21 winners were named. Circle Pond Tiny Home Community was nominated by Sandy Council, president of the Ruskin Community Development Foundation. Council attended the gala, as did members of Caneen’s family.

Debbie Caneen’s Circle Pond Tiny Home Community in Ruskin was recognized recently by The Sustany Foundation for environmental stewardship, economic impact and social responsibility.
DEBBIE CANEEN PHOTO

2019 Sustany Award Recipients:

A Simpler Place Farm & Market

Tampa International Airport

Circle Pond Tiny Home Community

Destination Better

The Florida Aquarium

Publix

E3 Solutions

Raymond James

Suncoast Compost

Auburn Supply Group

SELF

This is a close-up view of the award Circle Pond Tiny Home Community won at The Sustany Foundation’s Green Carpet Gala in May.
DEBBIE CANEEN PHOTO

Sunshine State

Good Vibes Juice Co.

Zildjian Catering & Consulting

The Venice Golf and Country Club

Mangrove School of Sarasota

Legacy Vacation Resorts

Sewn Apart

Florida Native Plants Nursery

Salt Palm Development

Children’s World

 

 

 

Beekeeper Juan Juarez tends to the Circle Pond Tiny Home Community’s beehives.
DEBBIE CANEEN PHOTO

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