Review: The Naked Farmer by Ben Brooksby

Title: The Naked Farmer

Author: Ben Brooksby

Published: 27th October 2020, Macmillan Australia

Status: Read November 2020 courtesy PanMacmillan Australia

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My Thoughts:

Founded by Ben Brooksby on May the 12th 2017, what started as an Instagram photo posted in fun, has developed into The Naked Farmer, a worldwide social media movement aimed at breaking down the barriers, and starting conversations, about mental health, particularly amongst farmers.

Ben, a 5th generation crop/sheep farmer from St Helens Plains in Western Victoria, Australia began experiencing panic attacks in his late teens. He fought hard to manage his anxiety, and when a photo of him in the back of a grain truck, naked, with a pile of lentils covering his sensitive bits, went viral, he was inspired to use his new found fame, to benefit the agricultural community.

“By using the liberating combination of nudity and farm work, the Naked Farmer is starting conversations about mental health across Australia because at the end of the day it’s easier to talk about what’s inside once someone has bared everything on the outside.”

The campaign began in earnest when Ben organised a photo shoot and then the publication of a calendar, with the help of photographer Emma Cross, using locals from his region. Ben and Emma then decided to go on tour to raise awareness of rural mental health, meet some of his social media followers, and encourage their participation in the project. It’s largely from that tour in 2019 that the stories in this book, The Naked Farmer, are drawn.

The Naked Farmer includes personal stories from around 40 men and women of all ages, from all over Australia. These are tales of hardship and trauma, but also resilience and hope, told with courage, and a wish to inspire others to share their story, and begin their own conversations. While the contributors are all involved in agriculture, their mental health is affected by varying issues, including anxiety, injury, illness, eating disorders, depression, financial strain, and grief, just like those in the wider community, so you don’t need to be a farmer, or to get naked, to benefit from this book. You needn’t be one of the 45% of Australians to be affected by mental illness either, this book provides insight into the lives of our nation’s farmers, and makes a connection between consumers and where their food and fibre comes from,

“Above all, The Naked Farmer is a conversation starter. The stories you’re about to read are from individuals around Australia who all have one thing in common: they’ve started their conversation. I hope this book inspires you to do the same.”

You can support The Naked Farmer campaign by following them on Instagram or Facebook, or by purchasing this book, the annual calendar (2021 is available now), or making a tax deductible donation. As a non-profit organisation, all monies raised are donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Mental Health Unit, who have dedicated mental health professionals that visit remote towns and properties to provide treatment and support, as well as education about mental health issues for individuals and communities in rural and remote areas of Australia. And you can start a conversation…

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Available from PanMacmillan Australia

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Moore
    Nov 15, 2020 @ 03:59:42

    Sounds interesting.
    The sad thing about the US is we don’t have mental health help much at all anymore. It’s very much needed but politicians cut funding. Now we have a lot of people who need the help but can’t afford or find it. So sad.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Liz Dexter
    Nov 15, 2020 @ 05:10:34

    This sounds great and I had no idea the Flying Doctors had a mental health service.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Penelope Gough
    Nov 15, 2020 @ 05:41:46

    This is indeed a worthy cause and yes thank Heavens for the wonderful flying Doctor Service. And.. you get to see some lovely bottoms! Good review thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Carol
    Nov 15, 2020 @ 05:55:47

    Interesting! And a great cause!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Helen Murdoch
    Nov 15, 2020 @ 08:53:50

    What a wonderful thing! The more people talk about anxiety and mental health the better. The calendar of locals reminds me of that movie based on reality about the British women who made a calendar to raise funds for a local charity.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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