Announcing the new Saskia Beer Churchill Fellowship

06 Jan 2022

Colin and Maggie Beer, on the bench between the original Farmshop and daughter Elli’s Eatery on reopening after COVID lockdown reminiscing about their journey. featured image
Colin and Maggie Beer, sitting between the original Farmshop and daughter Elli’s Eatery on reopening after COVID lockdown, reminiscing about their journey. Photo Credit: Pete Thornton, What Pete Shot

The Churchill Trust is proud to announce that a new Churchill Fellowship will be offered from 2022  to honour the memory and legacy of the late Saskia Beer, made possible through the generous sponsorship of Colin and Maggie Beer. 

Colin and Maggie approached the Churchill Trust with the idea of setting up a perpetual legacy for their daughter after she died unexpectedly, yet peacefully, in her sleep at the age of 46 in February 2020.

The Saskia Beer Churchill Fellowship will support passionate food lovers like Saskia – be they cooks or chefs, farmers, growers, producers or entrepreneurs – to pursue innovative, artisanal, sustainable, regenerative and community focused approaches to food production. All Fellows will be required to publish a report and actively engage in disseminating their findings within the food industry when they return.

The connections between the Churchill Trust and the Beer family began almost 50 years ago, with Colin Beer awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1978 to study overseas developments in commercial game bird breeding and its tourist potential.

As Colin notes, “at that time, there was very little knowledge to be gained in Australia. The only way to find out more about the breeding of game birds was to be able to open doors in Europe and the States where it was more common.”

“In my travels I visited a turkey farm on the border of Scotland that was a lightbulb moment of how we could use the base of this in the Barossa. Apart from learning more about the breeding of game birds, the Farmshop we opened the next year became the catalyst for everything else we’ve done. It was a very early paddock to plate scenario” said Colin.

With both Colin and Maggie at the helm, the Farmshop then morphed into the highly awarded Pheasant Farm Restaurant, from which The Maggie Beer produce label evolved and is now a much loved and international success story. The Farmshop is still open on its original site, where the Beer family continue to farm.

Pictured L-R Colin Beer with a pheasant from his farm, 1978, the year he received a Churchill Fellowship to study overseas developments in commercial game bird breeding. Colin and Maggie Beer at their Barossa Valley Pheasant Farm near Tanunda in 1979. Colin Beer with a pheasant from his farm in 2020 (photo credit: Pete Thornton, What Pete Shot)

As Maggie Beer writes, “even though our products are known all over the world, the Farm Shop remains in our family as our special place that we love to share with visitors.”

“Given that the Churchill Fellowship was the springboard for our food journey when Colin was awarded it to study game bird breeding, the synergies with this award and Saskia’s work seemed so perfect. We hope this new Fellowship will open doors for new ideas just like it did for us,” says Maggie.

Adam Davey, CEO of the Churchill Trust, highlights how honoured the Trust is to be announcing this new Fellowship.

“We feel privileged that the Beer family have chosen to partner with us to offer an enduring legacy to reflect Saskia’s work in, and passion, for the food industry, and enable others to pursue excellence in this field, for the benefit of many Australians,” said Adam.

The Saskia Beer Churchill Fellowship will be available for aspiring Australians in the Churchill Trust’s next application round, which opens 1 February 2022 and closes April 28 2022.

Learn more about Saskia Beer in A Current Affair interview with Maggie and Colin Beer

Read more about how to apply for a Fellowship

Register to attend an online information session 

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