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Epic tour awaits Ben Brooksby and his Naked Farmer team

The Naked Farmer, Ben Brooksby, and his dog Sasha at St Helens Plains.

Ben Brooksby and his dog Sasha.

By SARAH SCULLY
It started as a joke between a couple of mates and soon sparked a mental health awareness campaign based on encouraging people living and working on the land to get their gear off.
Where it ends is anyone’s guess, with The Naked Farmer founder Ben Brooksby continuing to come up with new ways to combat key factors contributing to mental health issues in rural and remote communities.
His story has been told a hundred times before – in May last year Mr Brooksby, 25, shared a photo of himself near-naked in the back of a truck filled with lentils to social media.
His new Instagram account, The Naked Farmer, was an instant hit, garnering more than 1000 followers in a week.
He knew he had struck a chord with the community and what started as a way to educate people further afield about where food and fibre came from turned into a serious, yet cheeky, mental health advocacy campaign.
But while Mr Brooksby’s story has become well-known, it is also evolving.
The Naked Farmer has produced a fundraising calendar, hats and an underwear line, but months of effort will come to fruition on Saturday when Mr Brooksby embarks on the most exciting part of his momentum-gathering campaign to date: The Naked Farmer Tour.
He will be joined on the road by photographer Emma Cross from Emma Jane Industry.
Miss Cross took the initial ‘naked farmer’ photo during a visit to the Brooksbys’ St Helens Plains property, near Horsham.
She said when she first suggested Mr Brooksby ‘get his kit off and jump in with the lentils’, about three seconds of silence was followed by a bout of laughter.
“I was clinging on to the side of the truck with one hand, holding the camera in the other and trying to pull it together so I could get the shot,” Miss Cross said.
“Eighteen months later here we are today, about to embark on another idea and hit the road to meet some locals from remote areas around Australia.
“Some people might look at it and think, how does getting naked in a paddock raise awareness for mental health, but, hey, while you were scrolling through social media, we got you thinking.”
Mr Brooksby, who has personal experience battling mental health issues, said he was thrilled to be hitting the road with his childhood friend.
“She’s the beginning of it,” he said.
“She’s the one who sparked the idea in the first place. It’s been a pretty cool journey for both of us.”
Mr Brooksby and Miss Cross met in primary school, became close friends in high school and have shared many adventures since.
Whirlwind trip
The upcoming three-week whirlwind trip around Australia will be their biggest yet.
The pair plans to leave Horsham on Saturday and travel to South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales before finishing the tour in Geelong on July 12.
Along the way, Miss Cross will take photographs for this year’s The Naked Farmer calendars – male and female editions – while Mr Brooksby will interview people for a book he plans to release next year.
Mr Brooksby said he was excited about experiencing Australia.
“I’m looking forward to actually seeing the rawness of the country and what it’s really like out there on stations and in the outback,” he said.
“It will be good to meet the farmers who go through those tough times. For example, in Western Australia at the moment they’re going through a massive drought. It’s the same with NSW and Queensland.
“It will be good to see those areas and how people are going and experience Australia properly.”
Along the way, The Naked Farmer team plans to meet up with a wide range of people involved in the agriculture industry.
“When we go to Mulwula, which is above Perth and a bit inland, we’ll be meeting between 32 and 38 housewives,” he said.
“They are all set up to get a big group shot, which I think will be absolutely epic.
“Eventually I’d love to run a mental health workshop there, but we’ll see how things go. It won’t happen on this tour because we’re so strapped for time and Emma has to get back to work.”
Mental health workshops are also in the pipeline.
“Profits from the calendar will go to the Royal Flying Doctors Service mental health unit. With the underwear and hats, $1 from the sale of each goes to the flying doctors, while the rest will be used to fund workshops at a later date,” Mr Brooksby said.
“We’ve raised more than $3500 for the flying doctors in the past month, which is great.”
Mr Brooksby has teamed with the Tomorrow Man foundation to run workshops breaking down stereotypes of masculinity and what it means to be a man.
Eventually, Mr Brooksby also dreams of launching a ‘random acts of kindness’ campaign.
“I just love helping people,” he said.
“You feel so good when you make someone happy and give them joy, especially when they’re going through a tough time.”
People can visit www.thenakedfarmerco.com.au for more information on Mr Brooksby’s endeavours or to buy merchandise. People can follow the tour on social media by searching The Naked Farmer on Instagram or Facebook.

The entire June 20, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=62547

Posted on Jun 20 2018

Posted by on Jun 20 2018. Filed under FEATURED, Health & Lifestyle, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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