Artist, Master Gardener, Social Sculptor

Tattfoo Tan

Tattfoo Tan,  S.O.S. Free Seeds Library , 2018.

Tattfoo Tan, S.O.S. Free Seeds Library, 2018.

S.O.S. Free Seeds Library, 2018
Medium-density-overlay panel, non-GMO seeds, repurposed bricks
Organized in collaboration with Courtney Adair Johnson
Sculpture design and fabrication by afoam

Created by the New York-based artist Tattfoo Tan, and organized in collaboration with the Nashville-based artist Courtney Adair Johnson, the S.O.S. Free Seeds Library project is an exercise in community-driven food justice. Modeled on the Little Free Library network, the project provides eight Nashville neighborhoods with kiosks bearing free seeds for edible plants and flowering cover crops. The seeds are for anyone to take, share, and plant. Leaving seeds for others is highly encouraged, and neighbors are responsible for replenishing the libraries. By saving seeds, people can control the destiny of their food while promoting the ecological diversity necessary for a sustainable planet.

This summer, teens participating in Opportunity Now, Nashville’s youth-employment initiative, will work with Johnson and her colleagues at the McGruder Social Practice Artist Residency (M-SPAR) to design seed packets and accompanying educational materials. As artists-in-residence, the youths will learn about Tan’s socially engaged artistic practice and develop a social-practice project involving the McGruder community.

Thanks to the following companies for their contribution of non-GMO seeds: Seed Savers Exchange, Select Seeds, Seeds of Change, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Johnny’s Seeds, and Territorial Seed Company.

Thanks to Marlos E'van and the Opportunity Now students for assisting with the installation of seed libraries. 



Community Partners

  • Brooklyn Heights Community Garden, 1831 Haynes St., Nashville, TN 37207
  • Fall-Hamilton Elementary School, 510 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville, TN 37203
  • Legacy Mission Village, 5123 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211
  • McGruder Family Resource Center, 2013 25th Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37208
  • Nashville Farmers’ Market, 900 Rosa L Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37208
  • Westwood Baptist Church Youth Annex, 2502 Albion St., Nashville, TN 37208
  • Woodycrest Community Garden, 2028 Hutton Dr., Nashville, TN 37210
  • Wright Middle School, 180 Mccall St., Nashville, TN 37211