Monday, 3 August 2009

Gordon Hillman honoured with Feitschrift

Yesterday, Gordon Hillman had some surprise visitors, Andy Fairbairn and Ehud Wiess (and I tagged along), who presented him with a feitschrift in his honour, published last week by Oxbow Books, Several years in writing, editing, and production the volume came as pleasant surprise to Gordon.


Gordon is pcitured here with the Feitschrift in his honour and the two editors, his former students Andy Fairbairn (University of Queensland) and Ehud Weiss (of Bar-Ilan University & the Weizmann Institute of Science). This book reflects the wide impact of Gordon's research, teaching and ideas both amongst colleagues (inlcuding junior colleagues like myself), but especially amongst his students, drawn from all over the world).

In typical fashion, Gordon offered us tea but suggested that first we ought to get out and collect some Deschampsia (D. caespitosa, the tufted hair-grass), as it was at the end of its ripening window (of less than 2 weeks or so). With his characteristic enthusiasm and eneregy we headed to Pevensey Marsh with baskets and seed beaters to have a short session at paddling up some spikelets from the extensive stand that grows in an under-grazed area of the marsh. (It has small red grains, not dissimilar from the Ethiopian crop tef in terms of size).
There was more time spent sitting and eating some fruit (foraged by Andy & Ehud from a supermarket) than actually collecting, with conversation taking up issues of harvesting windows for wild grasses, acorn gathering, processing and tree ownership, seaweed collection and Australian Auracaria pinecones. Having caught up we headed back to Gordon's kitchen to dehusk and grind some Deschampsia and Festuca he had gathered earler in the week and dried. And some simple wild grass biscuits were griddle cooked to accompany our cup of tea.

It is inspiring to see Gordon still add it, regularly out in field and forest, gathering, experimenting with processing and eating. And, he is still working on a book that gathers all of this knowledge and experience on wild food plants together.

The feitschrift contents have been presented previously on this blog. The book can be ordered from Oxbow Books. A full tally of Gordon's published works (so far) can be found here.

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