A 501c3 Nonprofit Organization

Natural Burial

IMG_0834Natural Burial

Natural burial has been practiced throughout human history.  Natural burial is the practice of burying deceased remains directly into the soil without the use of contaminating materials such as embalming chemicals, metal, plastic, and concrete.  It currently occurs in small country cemeteries or church cemeteries across Tennessee.  Larger municipal and commercial cemeteries usually require concrete, metal or plastic outer burial containers or vaults making natural burial impossible.   The use of a vault or outer burial container helps larger cemeteries manage their grounds and use heavy equipment and mowers easily in dense burial areas where graves are side by side and head to foot.

Contrary to popular belief no law requires bodies to be embalmed, or the use of caskets or vaults.  These common misconceptions are rules and regulations the funeral industry has adopted to control its profit margin and maintenance needs.   (In Tennessee most conventional burials consist of an embalmed body placed in a metal casket that is buried in a concrete vault.)  Remains when buried naturally can be buried in biodegradable caskets and shrouds, a simple pine box or a casket handmade by family members.

Currently the average funeral and burial costs about $13,000 with many exceeding $15,000. In the United States today, more than 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid containing toxic chemicals are buried in the earth every year—along with 100,000 tons of steel and copper and 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete vaults. The use of embalming fluids and concrete vaults that hold coffins are creating permanent damage to Tennessee’s environment. Natural burial is the palatable alternative– and even gives those families considering cremating the remains a viable inexpensive burial solution

Many spiritual and religious leaders believe that current funeral practices can complicate and confuse the grieving process.  The once simple practice of home funeral care and natural burial quickly changed after the Civil War with the introduction of embalming.  The tradition of a natural preparation of a body by family and friends gave way to a new industry.  Modern funeral homes have since grown to capitalize on the grief of Americans.  Often they recommend unnecessary products and services that do not fit the true needs of grieving people or the environment.

Without natural burial cemeteries, our natural traditions are harder to uphold in Tennessee and are contingent upon access to private burial grounds, economic resources, and individual research.  Larkspur is creating this new burial option in the state of Tennessee, benefiting the environmental community and region we in which live.