DAVIS ON CHOOSING A NATURAL WAY TO GO
Between embalming chemicals, crematorium emissions and concrete vault liners, there are plenty of reasons why an environmentally conscious consumer might look askance at modern funerary practices.
That’s where the Natural Funeral comes in. Founded in 2019 in Lafayette, it offers a chance to “live and die your values,” with holistic funeral services and greener options for your earthly remains.
Earlier this month, the Natural Funeral opened its second location at 1440 N. Boise Ave. in Loveland. At the helm is Loveland resident Becky Davis, who has spent her career assisting individuals and families facing end-of-life decisions.
The Texas native wants people to have alternatives when it comes to their after-life care, so when the opportunity arose to open a branch of the Natural Funeral in Loveland, she gladly took it.
The Natural Funeral provides three disposition services: green burial, water cremation and natural organic reduction, also known as body composting, which was legalized in Colorado in 2021. It also provides traditional funeral home services, such as body pickup and family memorial ceremonies.
Explain more about the services The Natural Funeral provides?
We offer three main dispositions. One of them is a green burial, that is where the body is just placed into the ground. There’s no metal casket, there’s no concrete liner. The body’s able to go back into the earth and transform in its own time.
We also offer water cremation, the technical name is alkaline hydrolysis. …The body is placed in a vessel with some water and alkaline chemicals, then we gently rock the body and then it transforms into this liquid that we call liquid essence. It’s like a very nutrient rich fertilizer. After the body is finished with the process, then we take the bones and dry them out and put them through a cremulator, and we get cremains.
Then we have a third option that we offer called body composting or natural organic reduction. That is where the body is actually composted, just like you would compost in your backyard or on your farm.
We lay the body in (our chrysalis vessel) with wood, alfalfa and straw, and then we have a proprietary tea that we pour over top of that introduces fungi into the mix. We will rotate every so often… .We monitor the temperature and the moisture level inside, so that everything is just right for the process.
It takes three to four months and turns the body into a really nutrient rich soil.
What happens to the remains from these processes?
When the water cremation is completed, and we bring that water back down to a healthy ph balance, and then that water can be used as a fertilizer. So we donate it, whatever the family doesn’t want, to flower farms and nature preserves around the area. … One body will fertilize a 600-acre flower farm for a year.
We also put the soil back into the earth, just like we do with that liquid essence. And so families often will take some of the soil, and then we donate the rest to flower farms, that nature preserves just the same as with the liquid essence. It’s very similar to potting soil.
What services do you offer friends, family or other mourners?
We have celebrants that we work with that can curate a very personalized service for someone who passes. They meet with the family and friends and get stories and learn about this person. And they do a beautiful job of creating a ceremony around that.
As best as we can, we want to provide what is the best for that family. So we try to be pretty individualized, and we’re often creative about how we can make things work.
It’s a beautiful experience every time with every family we serve, because it’s really tender time and a vulnerable time, and to be invited to be part of that with a family is really an honor and a privilege, and we don’t
take it lightly.
What makes your services greener compared to traditional burials or cremations?
A fire cremation sends an astronomical amount of emissions into the air, and I just don’t think we can afford to not pay attention to that any more.
With a traditional burial, you have a metal, often a metal casket, sometimes it’s wood, but it’s finished wood. And then you have it placed in a concrete vault with a concrete top on it. So the ground can’t do what it needs to do to
regenerate. And so, to me, it’s fighting against nature. And, there are all of the chemicals involved in the embalming.
Colorado is one of the few states across the country that has legalized some of these practices. Why does it seem to be catching on here first?
What I’ve seen is people just care about all of the beauty that we can see with our eyes. I mean, who doesn’t want to protect that?
…I love this place we get to live in and I want to take care of it. And so I like the idea of putting back into it, rather than continuing to take from it. I would also like for the next generation and the next generation to have a healthier attitude or healthier thinking towards our Earth.