Law of Seeds

Beth Grossman

About Beth Grossman

Beth Grossman is a social practice artist, who sees the visual as a way to create community dialog. Her art and participatory performances are comfortable points of entry into the ongoing dialog about interpretation of history and religion, our place in nature and the power of social beliefs.Grossman collaborates internationally with individuals, communities, city halls, universities, corporations, non-profits and museums in the US, Russia, China, Italy, Germany, Finland, Norway and Mexico. She uses art and participatory performance as a creative force to stimulate conversation and focus attention on the environment, history and civic engagement – all aimed at raising awareness, building community and encouraging public participation.The public conversations prompted by Grossman’s artwork and advocacy have been featured on Chinese, German, KRON4 television news and National Public Radio’s California Report. Other press includes the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Miami Herald, Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal Constitution.Her visual art has been shown at venues including:  The de Young Museum in San Francisco, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Ellis Island Immigration Museum in New York City, The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, the Minnesota History Center, The Nat’l Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

About Law of Seeds

In the spirit of Shmita, mandated by the Torah, my Law of Seeds project is a Bill of Rights I wrote for specifically for nature. When the Torah was written and the wise environmental and social justice laws of Shmita were scribed, it is unimaginable that the scholars could have ever have predicted the likes of genetic engineering or the injustices caused by this climate crisis. The “Law of Seeds” can be seen as an additional set of environmental laws. If implemented, they could provide accountability to future generations ensuring that nature’s vital seed cycle will carry on. “The Law of Seeds” is scribed with a quill pen on eleven vintage seed bags that are also painted with images of the stages of germinating corn from seed to mature plant. I am using this art project to call attention to the necessity of national and international “seed law” to protect plant bio-diversity and the rights of individuals to save seed, keeping them in the public domain. Inspired by the constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuador, each of which includes Articles on the Rights of Nature, I invite the public to appreciate the wonders of seeds and engage in a discussion on the importance of protecting this precious source of our food chain. As the art exhibit tours, I am proposing that city councils use this Bill of Rights for Nature art exhibit to call attention to this issue and make proclamations that set intentions to develop “seed law” to protect bio-diversity, the rights to save seed, and keep them in the public domain. Local municipalities can mandate how their community’s environment is protected. For example, city councils can decide how they use their land and if they permit the use of various chemicals, or genetic engineered farming practices. For my commitment to this Shmita year, I am looking for citizen activist partners in towns of all sizes across the United States, to propose this exhibit and hold dialogs that could lead to their local governments making “Bill of Rights for Nature” proclamations.