“Natural,” or “green,” burial is the interment of the body of a dead person in the soil in a manner that does not inhibit decomposition but allows the body to recycle naturally. It is an alternative to other contemporary Western burial methods.
In natural burial, an unembalmed body is placed in a shroud or biodegradable container and buried without a grave liner or vault at a depth that allows at least two feet of earth above the top of the container or shroud. This exposes the body to microbes living within three feet of the land’s surface, thus enhancing its decomposition.
Natural burials can take place in any cemetery that will accommodate the vault-free technique. Four such cemeteries are choices in the Kansas City region.
The closest is Highland Cemetery of Prairie Village, a Civil War-era cemetery that now is administered by a nonprofit association, many of whose members also are active in the FCA-GKC. The cemetery is located in a residential neighborhood off of 65th Street between Roe and Nall. Visit highlandcemeteryprairievillage.com or call 913-262-1560.
Other cemeteries permitting green burial include Mount Muncie Cemetery in Lansing, Kan., 913-727-1935; Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, Kan., 785-832-3450; and Green Acres in Columbia, Mo., 573-355-4647.
For more information on Green burials go to: greenburialcouncil.org
No one is legally required to use the services of a funeral home after a loved one dies. Increasing numbers of Americans are returning to the much more traditional form of after-death care: preparation of the body, viewing or wake, and even services held in the home.