Hello from Vermont Natural Burial!
We've talked a lot about what natural burial is, so let's talk a bit about what natural burial is not.
Natural burial is not burial without a funeral. Ceremony and ritual can be a very important part of burial. So if you want a ceremony at a church, in someone's home, a funeral home, or at the graveside we will work with you to make that happen.
Natural burial is not throwing your body away to be forgotten in the woods. It's important for people to be able to have a relationship with the place where their loved one is buried. We offer the option of surface grave markers which can be engraved as well as native plants which can be planted. All graves are also marked via GPS. And, of course, if you don't want a headstone, it's not required.
Natural burial is not dangerous for people or the environment. When chemo, antibiotics, and other therapeutic drugs come into contact with the living layers of soil, as they do with natural burial, the soil works to break them down back into their organic components and recycle them into the ecosystem just as it does with bodies. Any inorganic substances or things like fluoride or heavy metals are fixed in place by the soil.
If the substance itself breaks down at a faster rate than soil can decompose it then the soil can't recycle it. Concrete is the best example of this, and concrete leachate has been shown to travel quite far and even contaminate water supplies. That is why we don't allow concrete.
Natural Burial is not a waste of space. The benefit of a natural cemetery is that the space isn't just used as a cemetery- it's a beautiful natural area for exploring in all season and other activities: outdoor learning; conserving, creating and protecting habitat; reflection; even weddings and outdoor events. That means that there is protection from developers (both because of the conservation and the laws that protect cemeteries) as well as a value in and of itself to the community because of the multiple ways it can be used by the community that make development unwanted. Have you heard things about what natural burial is or isn't that you'd like us to address? Write us and let us know, we're happy to answer your questions. Help us spread the word! People can join the Vermont Natural Burial mailing list on our website vermontnaturalburial.org
The Vermont Natural Burial Team