Tavistock market trader Ben Thornton, who took up gardening seriously during lockdown to help his mental health, will be designing his first show garden at BBC Gardeners World Live at Birmingham NEC in June. In his new column he tells us what gardening means to him.

Hi my name is Ben Thornton, this is my first column where I will bring you stories close to my heart. This week I want to talk to you about why growing your own is important. Growing your own food or flowers is more rewarding than you may think. I know when I started growing I was not sure if it was worth my time and energy, but that all changed when I found out how rewarding it is mentally and physically.

Growing has helped me through some of my darkest times and gave me a focus I never new existed. It allowed me to connect with nature just by having my hand in soil and breathing the fresh air. Growing can be in many forms, having an allotment, in your garden or just on your window sill in your house. No matter your circumstances there are ways for you to learn to grow.

When I started my growing journey nearly six years ago I never expected to be where I am now. It’s a world of wonders and excitement that you need to live to experience. Growing is easy and just by putting a seed in compost, watching it sprout and then growing it all the way to harvest is a feeling that I can’t describe.

On my social media I show you how you can grow simply, without all the hassle that comes when people think of growing their own. Many know me by the name The Young Grower where I have built up a following of 20,000 plus followers.

Growing your own food is important for several reasons, including promoting self-sufficiency, reducing your carbon footprint, and improving your health and well-being.

Ben Thornton
Ben Thornton (Ben Thornton)

Firstly, growing your own food can promote self-sufficiency. By producing your own fruits and vegetables, you are not reliant on grocery stores or markets to provide your daily sustenance. This can be particularly important in times of crisis, such as natural disasters or economic downturns, where access to food may be limited. Just like many experienced during Covid-19. Growing your own food can save you money in the long run, as the cost of seeds or seedlings and soil is often much cheaper than purchasing produce from a store.

Ben Thornton
Growing your own reduces your carbon footprint (Ben Thornton)

Secondly, growing your own food can reduce your carbon footprint. When you grow your own produce, you are reducing the amount of energy and resources needed to transport food from farms to grocery stores. Additionally, growing your own food can reduce the amount of packaging needed for store-bought produce, which can further reduce waste and carbon emissions.

Thirdly, growing your own food can improve your health and well-being. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, providing essential nutrients and antioxidants that can help prevent chronic diseases. Additionally, gardening can be a form of exercise, which can improve your physical health and mental well-being.

Ben Thornton produce from allotment
(Ben Thornton)

In summary, growing your own food is an important practice that can promote self-sufficiency, reduce your carbon footprint, and improve your health and well-being. Whether you have a large backyard or just a small balcony, there are many ways to start growing your own produce and reap the benefits.

This is a quick breakdown of why growing your own is important and hopefully some encouragement to start growing your own, whether it be in your garden or on your windowsill there are so many ways. 

Recently I have got into growing my own mushrooms on my kitchen worktop and let’s just say it is amazing to see how quick they grow, giving you the freshest ingredients.