Tobias Roberts

After working in the development industry for over a decade, Tobias decided it was time to stop advising Central American farmers how to do things if he didn´t have a piece of land to live coherently with what he taught. Together with his family he runs a small agro-forestry farm, tourism cooperative, and natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador.

Slip Straw, Earthen Floors, and Tadelakt: A Recipe for a Perfectly Natural Home

Slip straw is an easy and energy efficient way to build lightweight homes or walls. It uses materials that are almost always locally available and also offers quality insulative properties. To build with slip straw you will need an abundant supply of straw, clay and some sort of wood to make forms. The straw you use should be from some sort of grain such as rice, wheat, barley, etc. Hay, […]

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Feeding the World: Farming Gets It’s Sea Legs

Seaweed washed up on the beach

The world is shrinking. Not literally, of course. When it comes to mass, our planet is the same size it’s been for billions of years. However, when one instead considers available land mass, that’s a different story. Over the next 30 years, the world population is expected to grow by 30%. This means that by 2050, our planet will be trying to support approximately 9.6 billion people. For a world […]

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Principles for Designing a Holistic Food System

Most people have an unconscious feeling that we can´t continue down the path we´re currently on. The supposed abundance witnessed on the shelves of our local grocery store might seem promising, but deep down we know that we can´t continue to outsource our need for food to a system that is so deeply indebted to the quickly depleting reserves of oil and other fossil fuels. We know that something needs […]

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Water Saving Irrigation Practices

Saving water in the soil is without a doubt the easiest and most effective way to manage the water flowing through your land. If you need extra irrigation, however, the water stored up in your soil isn´t easy to access. For irrigation needs, you´ll want to use water that you store in cisterns or tanks. This water can be harvested either from the sky in the form of rain or […]

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The Health Benefits of the Chia Seed

What are Chia Seeds? When most people think of the Aztec and Mayan cultures of Central America, we automatically think of corn and beans as the main culinary contributions to the food we currently eat today. However, these important civilizations contributed several other important crops to today´s food system including products such as amaranth, tomatoes, and chia seeds. Chia seeds were actually one of the most consumed products in these […]

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The Importance of Tree Crops in Sustainable Agriculture

Tree Crops are the most common perennial agricultural method. More specifically, orchards are one of the most common and successful forms of perennial agriculture. A well-maintained peach orchard will give you a steady crop for up to 20 years. An apple orchard can last up to 50 years and well-maintained pecan tree may very well continue to produce for up to 150 years. Our agricultural systems have been designed almost […]

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Climate Change and the Challenge to All Forms of Agriculture

We´ve all heard of climate change and probably understand the basics of how excess greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide produced by our society´s burning of fossil fuels is causing the earth´s temperature to rise. We´ve most likely seen maps of what the world will look like when the glaciers and icebergs melt causing the ocean to rise and most of us probably accept that it is a danger to our […]

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Can a House be a Sustainable Part of the Landscape?

The modern-day housing industry is notorious for leaving out any and all elements of design. Most home contractors design the houses they build around a minimum square footage (the more, the better) and a price range in the several hundred-thousand-dollar range. These houses are designed behind desks or in offices without ever setting foot on the actual piece of land where the home is to be built. The actual piece […]

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The Mortgage as the Most Important Part of Modern Housing

What is a home and what purpose should it hold for our lives? In our modern society, our homes are designed and built to offer us comfort and separation from the world around us. The homes we live in are like tiny bubbles of convenience, comforts, and luxuries that make us forget the places we inhabit. Once in our homes, we completely forget about the world around us. With the […]

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Propagation Techniques

Establishing a tree-based perennial agriculture system can cost a lot of money, especially if you´re planning on buying $30 dollar bagged fruit trees at your local orchard. Luckily, you can propagate many of the trees you are planning to plant by yourself. One of the easiest and best known ways to propagate many different trees, bushes, and other perennial plants is through planting seeds. Many nitrogen-fixing trees and bushes can […]

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The Problems with Corporations and Phantom Wealth

In the late 1800´s, corporations became people. It´s kind of hard to imagine Shell or Wal-Mart or other immensely large companies as a person that could be considered your neighbor, but for judicial and legal purposes, corporations have many of the same rights and protections as any ordinary person. Corporate personhood paved the way for mega-corporations to effectively govern the world. Of the world´s 100 largest economies, 51 of them […]

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The Mindset of Monoculture

Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, it has been fairly easy to fall into the mindset of monoculture. The lure of big machines offering us power and control; making our lives easier in some senses, but more complicated in others; has led us into an all-encompassing embrace of the mindset and paradigm that made the modern-day world possible. For thousands of years, we collectively labored away at a lifestyle […]

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