Colin Beer (CF 1978) and Maggie Beer AO

We are honoured to welcome Colin Beer (CF 1978) and Maggie Beer AO, in conversation with Lainie Anderson. to this year’s Convention Dinner in the Panorama Ballroom at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Colin’s Churchill Fellowship topic was to study developments in commercial game bird breeding, and associated tourist potential, in Europe and USA. His ‘lightbulb moment’ was visiting a turkey farm on the border of Scotland when he realised how this model could be applied in Barossa.

This Fellowship was pivotal in Colin and Maggie’s food journey which started in January 1979 when the Pheasant Farm Farm Shop opened.

Growing up in a family where food was important, Maggie inherited the instinct for simply knowing how to cook from her father. She was also an adventurous eater which helped! It therefore followed that Maggie and Colin’s ethos was to cook every bit of produce they raised or grew.

The Farm Shop and this philosophy combined to be the catalyst for everything thereafter, resulting in an outstanding contribution to South Australia’s reputation as a food destination.

Maggie’s joyous smile has graced television screens on a range of shows for decades, eg Cook & the Chef, Masterchef, Great Australian Bake Off, as she enthusiastically shares her food knowledge, recipes and ethos. She’s also a much loved and respected mentor to many, passing on her entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

In 2010 Maggie was made Senior Australian of the Year and took to the speaker’s circuit to share her wisdom and experiences. And here, there was one strangely unsuccessful talk (in her view) that pivoted Maggie’s passion once more. It was addressing 100 CEOs at an Aged Care Conference.

The research she did for the keynote speech and the message she was conveying about the quality of food in these facilities wasn’t, apparently, one welcomed by everyone in the audience.

Her world is food and what she found was unacceptable so, in true Maggie style, she set out to change it. In setting up the Maggie Beer Foundation, she made it “her personal mission to link the latest research of how the food we eat can impact brain health and general wellbeing, with her innate knowledge of what good food can do for everyone’s emotional wellbeing – a truly nourishing mix, so much greater than the sum of its parts.”

In August this year, Maggie Beer, Prime Minister Albanese and the Minster for Aged Care, Mark Butler, officially launched the ‘Improving Food in Aged Care through Education and Training’ program to improve the dining, food, and nutritional outcomes for Australian elders in Aged Care. It offers training and resources to providers, homes, cooks and chefs in a range of activities – free of charge.

And she’s not stopping there as we’re sure you’ll find out at the Dinner!

In 2022, Colin and Maggie generously sponsored the inaugural Saskia Beer Churchill Fellowship to honour the memory and legacy of their late daughter. Set up to support passionate food lovers like Saskia, the 2023 Fellowship has just been awarded to Tasmanian, Chris de Bono, who will travel to Japan and the US to investigate miso, tamari [Japanese soy sauce] and soy sauce production in different scale and cultural contexts.

This article compiled from various sources including:

The Maggie Beer Farmshop story

Food in Ages Care Education and Training program

About the Maggie Beer Foundation

2023 Churchill Fellowship recipients

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