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Christopher Hills Jr.; Natural Foods Pioneer, Microbiologist

February 10, 1997|From Times Wire Services

Microbiologist and visionary Christopher Hills Jr., who helped pioneer the health food and human consciousness movements, has died at home after a long illness. He was 70.

Hills was co-discoverer of the protein-rich plankton spirulina, the base for many natural food products, and founded the University of the Trees in Boulder Creek, Calif.

"He wanted to reach out and solve the Earth's problems, and at the same time, he wanted to promote higher consciousness," said his wife, artist Penny Slinger Hills. "He was a dreamer of impossible dreams, but he made a lot of those dreams come true."

Hills, a native of Grimsby, England, co-discovered spirulina in 1966 and then traveled the world touting the plankton as a superfood capable of solving the world's hunger problems.

"The 'green food' revolution has really taken off over the last five years, but people don't know that it started with Christopher Hills," said Jarman Massie, a Northern California distributor of spirulina-based products for the Life Force Co., which Hills founded in 1979.

"He went against the odds and categorized a whole new group of food called superfoods. Spirulina is the foundation of those superfoods."

A self-made millionaire from his early entrepreneurial days, Hills moved to Boulder Creek in 1971, where he began to explore human consciousness. In 1973, he founded the University of the Trees in Boulder Creek, an alternative education and research center for the social sciences that studied the laws of nature and how they relate to human consciousness.

At the same time, he wrote 30 books, selling millions of copies worldwide.

Hills, who died Jan. 31, is survived by his wife; two sons, John Hills of Maui and Anthony Hills of San Mateo, and three grandchildren.

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