Tobias Roberts

Cooperation versus Competition: An Evolutionary Perspective

Charles Darwin is credited for forming the idea of evolution. During his explorations around the world and his intimate observation of how animal and plant life evolved over time, he came to believe that everything followed one basic maxim: “the survival of the fittest.” This theory states that organisms will inherently struggle against one another in competition for limited resources that make life possible. Following from this logic, only the […]

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The Benefits of Creating Wetlands on Your Farm

Wetlands are some of the most important ecosystems on our planet harboring some of the highest rates of biodiversity in the world. They are fundamental for purifying the water we use and also for creating habitat for thousands of threatened species. Unfortunately, wetlands often get in the way of industrial development which has an unhealthy love affair with cement. For that reason, wetlands are often drained to make way for […]

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The Health Benefits of Raising Reishi Mushrooms

If something is working, you might as well continue to use it, as the saying goes. Reishi mushroom powder has been used by Asian cultures as a natural medicine for at least 2,000 years. The Reishi mushroom, also known as the Lingzhi mushroom in China, is one of the only species of mushrooms that is consumed more for its medicinal and pharmaceutical properties than for its nutritional value. Due to […]

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Check Dams and the Promise of Renewing Groundwater Springs

When my family and I moved onto our farm a couple of years ago, the small creek that ran through the bottom part of our land had been essentially abandoned for several decades. While we could hear the creek, it was all but impossible to make our way down to where the water actually ran due to a mess of vines, thorns, and thick underbrush. An invasive vine (similar to […]

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Hydraulic Ram Pumps

The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan, showed how vulnerable and unstable our industrial water system really is. Once it was determined that the public water in Flint, Michigan was indeed contaminated with lead and other dangerous substances, thousands of people were literally relegated to standing in lines to wait for bottled water from the government or other aid agencies. People had no idea how to get clean, potable water […]

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The Best Species for Coppice Forestry

It seems almost miraculous: you cut a tree down to its stump, and a couple years later it has grown several meters high once again. Like that mythical dragon who grows two heads for every one you cut off, there are dozens of different species of trees who have an incredible ability to regrow after severe cutting. Coppice forestry, the practice of cutting certain species of trees down to their […]

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The Revolutionary Civilizational Paradigm Eco Villages

The vast majority of people in the world no longer live in any sort of human settlement that could be considered a village. Rather, the increased urbanization of our species and the displacement of rural communities has led to a collection of isolated individuals who have very little relationship to the geographical place where they live and the people they share that place with. During the last two decades, however, […]

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Organic Pesticides, Biological Controls, and Finding what Can Be Grown

Bugs are inevitably a part of growing things. While most of the bugs out there are good for the soil and good for your plants, there are plenty of pests that will drive you crazy while you try to salvage a tomato crop ravaged by white flies or a peach harvest destroyed by aphids. Conventional agriculture since the times of the Green Revolution has taken advantage of the distress that […]

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The Crises that Have Come with Urbanization

One of the defining aspects of our current civilization and one of the most worrying trends of modernity is our urbanization as a species. When we take the long view of human history, it becomes obvious that for 99% of our history, we have been a rural people, the majority of us making our living off the land and in small, agrarian communities. Though history (especially the last 2,000 years […]

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Wal-Mart or the Farmer´s Market: Marketing Alternatives for the Small Farmer

I´m not going to lie: I hate Wal-Mart. Not only do I hate going to Wal-Mart and fighting the crowds of thousands of people searching for the cheapest way to feed their families and dress their children, but I also hate what Wal-Mart represents: the maximum expression of our globalized economy always searching for competitive advantages through cutting costs, mistreating employees, and destroying earth´s ecosystems. I hate that every day […]

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Rescuing the Commons as a Place for True Community Participation

The Cold War ended almost two decades ago, yet the dichotomy between State and Market continues to be all-encompassing. In traditional right/left politics, the choices offered to the common person present basically two options: vote for a party that promises to bolster free trade, freedom for businesses to “create” job opportunities, and deregulation of markets, or vote for a party dedicated to strengthening the state and its ability to control […]

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Dangers and Promises of Genetically Modified Organisms

One of the most controversial aspects of our industrial farming and industrial food system are genetically modified organisms. During the past decades, these crops have gone from the test tubes of laboratories into the fields of mega farmers and finally to our dinner plates. If you have shopped at a grocery store, chances are that you have consumed genetically modified organisms since corn and soy, two of the most common […]

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