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How the ‘Secrets of Ag’ project is providing solidarity

Jessica Peters for Progressive Dairy Published on 07 January 2020

“Nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say.” — Mitch Albom. Everyone has secrets they don’t want to share out loud. Some are small secrets, but some are huge, life-altering secrets. A secret is a secret for a reason; I get it. But what if there was a way to share your secret without anyone knowing it belongs to you? Would you share?

A few months ago, I started a project I call “Secrets of Ag.” It’s a website where people in agriculture can go to submit their secrets completely anonymously. Then, once a week, I repost them for the world to see on my social media accounts. In such a short time, there have been admissions of adultery, stories that will make you laugh and confessions of suicidal thoughts. It’s intended to be a place for people to relieve the stress they feel associated with their personal secrets, while helping those too anxious to share similar feelings know they’re not alone. Each Monday, I reshare a secret or two in a way that best represents the sentiment behind it. Then I share my perspective, support or advice to the person who submitted it. The only thing I ask is that those who respond keep their comments kind, and I have not been disappointed. The support and love left behind by those who follow along have brought tears to my eyes.

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What’s even more humbling is the number of private messages I get from people who feel the same. Even though they didn’t write the original secret, seeing it posted publicly helps people feel more understood. To know that you’re not the only person feeling those hard feelings can go such a long way to help you heal. Personally, I’ve found that even if I can’t relate to the specific secret shared, they go a long way to helping me understand how others feel.

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We all know how hard farming is right now, harder than it has ever been. I started this project because I was tired of hearing of farmers taking their own lives and everyone wondering what to do about it. I can’t promise that sharing or reading a secret will save a life, but I know how powerful and impactful it can be to just say things out loud. The more we talk about it, the less stigma it carries. It’s OK to not be OK. And I believe that talking about it, openly or anonymously, can save a life.  end mark

To submit your own anonymous secret, click here.

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To follow along, follow me on social media where I post secrets every Monday.
Facebook: Spruce Row Farm
Instagram: seejessfarm

PHOTOS: These images are some examples of the weekly posts Jessica Peters makes to reveal “Secrets of Ag.” Photos by Jessica Peters.

Jessica Peters is a dairy farmer in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

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