Down Under farmers strip for mental illness awareness


Editor’s note: This probably goes without saying, but if you click on any of the links embedded within this story, expect that they could depict people wearing nothing but their birthday suits.


A group of Australia and New Zealand farmers have grabbed the world’s attention with their campaign on mental illness in the agricultural community — they just had to get naked to do so. The Naked Farmer, created by 24-year-old eighth generation farmer Ben Brooksby, aims to take away the stigma surrounding depression in the farming community. As Brooksby says, “it takes just as much guts to talk about mental health issues as it does to get your gear off!”

Brooksby, who experienced anxiety as a teenager while living through 10 years of drought on the farm, was forced to ignore his mental struggles when the family home was burnt to the ground in 2015 and had to rebuild. This became a turning point in his life and one of the reasons he decided to start The Naked Farmer.

Since he posted his first photo on May 13, 2017 — sowing lentils and wearing nothing but boots, socks and hat in the back of the grain truck, the response on Instagram has gone viral. That post has now led to a social media based business, highlighting agriculture through photos of “naked farmers” with props strategically placed of course.  Brooksby said it has also been a great platform to educate consumers about where their food and fiber comes from.

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