Linking the pressing social need for affordable, sustainable funerals with emerging environmental values, earthfunerals will enable individuals from every walk of life to choose a professional, sustainable burial service in a beautiful natural setting.
A living legacy is created, with the proceeds from each earthfuneral funding an acre of restoration in wildlife corridor and revegetation projects. Starfish Initiatives and the supporters of earthfunerals share an ambitious goal of establishing a network of natural burial grounds and not-for-profit funeral services across Australia – but it all starts right here in the New England on Jane Pickard and Ray South’s Banded Bee Farm at Saumarez Ponds.
Jane and Ray recognised the synergy between natural burial and the permaculture principles they are practising, and donated the use of about 1.5ha of their property for the establishment of the New England Natural Burial Ground.
In partnership with the Armidale Tree Group, every earthfunerals service will contribute to the restoration of the Saumarez Creek Wildlife Corridor as part of the Every Tree Counts initiative. Funeral by funeral, the choice of a sustainable end-of-life ritual will renew the life of this corridor.
Following a detailed assessment and planning process, and with the pro-bono assistance of HWL Ebsworth Lawyers and Eco Logical Australia, a development application was submitted to Uralla Shire Council in July 2018. If approved, the New England Natural Burial Ground will be the first dedicated, stand-alone, natural burial ground in Australia.
Kev Hartley, Jane Pickard, Ray South and others involved in organising earthfunerals in Armidale will speak at the next SLA forum in Kent House at 7pm on Thursday, September 6. Everyone is welcome. They are eager to involve community members in planning the site and learning what is involved.
A project overview is available at the website www.earthfunerals.org.au