An All-Natural Burial

6 years 5 months 3 weeks ago April 29, 2010 Apr 29, 2010 Thursday, April 29 2010 Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:41:00 AM CDT in 8 Goes Green
By: Emily Spain

The four-acres of forest that make up Green Acre Cemetery is more than green in color. It's the only "green" burial site in the state.

"Everything is natural, you're going back to a natural state, ashes to ashes, dust to dust," said Bill Goddard, president of Pushing Up Daisies Inc., a company that manages all-natural cemeteries.

An all-natural cemetery means everything that goes into the ground must be biodegradable. There's no law requiring vaults, caskets or embalming.

"You do not have to have a casket," Goddard said. "You can be buried in a burial shroud. If grandma was a quilter and wanted to be sewn into her quilt, why we can use that," 

Even the headstones have guidelines to maintain the natural environment. They must be flat to the ground and made out of native stone like Missouri granite.

"This cemetery is a non-endowed cemetery," Goddard said. "It was designed to revert back to nature. It's just a beautiful, scenic place."

Pushing Up Daisies runs two burial locations: Sugar Creek Cemetery and Green Acres. Sugar Creek, which dates back to 1842, serves "green" and traditional burials. Green Acres is only for those going green.

"It's your choice, it's whatever you'd like to do," Goddard said.

Goddard, who once worked for Memorial Park Funeral Home, said an average family spends spend $10,000 to $15,000 on a funeral.

"It's the fourth or fifth largest expenditure that a family will ever have, and to put it all in the ground and walk away from it, just doesn't make any sense to me," Goddard said.

Grave prices start at $585 and go up to $1,185 depending on location. The farther from the street, the higher the price tag. Pushing Up Daisies has sold four lots in the two years it has been open, all in the Green Acres Cemetery. Goddard admits a "green" burial is out of the ordinary.

"We realize this is not for everyone and we're not trying to force this on anybody," Goddard said. "You know, if you like the idea great, if you don't that's okay to. We're just trying to give you a choice."

Plans are in the making to add a scattering garden for cremations and a gazebo for visitors in Green Acres.

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