Cayetano Natural Burial Ground at Tulocay Cemetery
Tulocay is pleased to now offer"green" or natural burial products and funeral services in additionto our traditional burial and cremation options. In 1859, Cayetano Juarezretained ownership of Rancho Tulocay, which was approximately 48 acres of thecity of Napa, to establish Tulocay Cemetery. Upon his death in 1883, Cayetanowas buried at Tulocay Cemetery on his originally donated land. In 2015,approximately two acres of current day Tulocay Cemetery land was designated forgreen burials and named Cayetano Natural Burial Ground.
The Cayetano Natural Burial Ground is now aspecially designated area nestled under the oak trees on the Northeastern partof Tulocay Cemetery's property and is one of only four cemeteries in Californiacertified by the Green Burial Council. The Green Burial Council is a nationalnon-profit certifying body that is the standard-bearer of the growingenvironmental, social, and consumer Green Burial Movement.
What is a Green Burial?
A green, or natural burialis the interment of the body into the soil in a manner that does not inhibitdecomposition but allows the body to recycle naturally. Green, or naturalburial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact thataids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions,protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation ofhabitat. Green burial necessitates the use of non-toxic and biodegradable materials,such as caskets, shrouds, and urns.
Simply put, a green burial is anenvironmentally friendly burial that aims tohave as little impact on the earth as possible.The main areas of consideration in a green burial are:
Green Burial guidelines set forth by the Green Burial Council
"The Green Burial Councilbelieves a casket, urn, or shroud is suitable for a green burial if it is madefrom materials/substances that are nontoxic and readily biodegradable. We alsorequire that these products not be made from materials that are harvested in amanner that unnecessarily destroys habitat, as is the case with certain typesof materials." (Green Burial Council)
· The body is not embalmed.
· The casket or burialshroud is made of 100% biodegradable materials.
· The grave site has noliner or vault.
· Graves are marked, if desired,with natural stone or rock.
The Green Experience
Those considering GreenBurial are often surprised to discover how engaging and gratifying the processcan be for the family and loved ones of the deceased. Green Burial offers manyopportunities for families to participate in a variety of steps throughout theburial process, such as carrying their loved one's body to the grave site,lowering the body into the grave, and filing in the grave space. Though familyparticipation is entirely optional, many families appreciate the intimacy suchclose involvement provides.
Green Burial is often a moreaffordable funeral option compared to conventional burial, as it foregoesembalming and an outer container for a natural disposition in a simple wicker, wooden casket, or burialshroud.
Why Choose a green burial?
The intent of natural burialis to minimize the impact of body burial on the environment but can also costless than a modern burial as embalming fluids, concrete vaults and traditionalcaskets contribute to a large portion of a conventional burial's cost. Eachyear in the United States we bury:
· 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid; which includesformaldehyde
· 180,544,000 pounds of steel in caskets
· 5,400,000 pounds of copper and bronze in caskets
· 30 million board feet of hardwoods in caskets
· 3,272,000,000 pounds of reinforced concrete vaults and28,000,000 pounds of steel in vaults (from Mary Woodsen, Cornell University)
As the saying goes, Death and Taxes...When the inevitable time comes to care for the body of a loved one who has died, there is new movement afoot to return to the old way of doing things. It’s called natural or green burial.
Prior to the Civil War in the United States, the deceased's body was simply buried in a community cemetery or on a family's property. During the war however, many soldiers died on battlefields while so far from home, there became a growing need for a way to preserve the dead for the long journey back home to a decent burial. Families wanted to see their fallen fathers and sons one last time, so the process of embalming came into use. In the 1890's, as embalming procedures improved and the cost became more reasonable, it became common practice for families to have their loved ones embalmed before a visitation or viewing in their homes or at a funeral parlor. Simply put, embalming involves pumping a chemical fluid into the circulatory system to preserve and disinfect a body prior to burial, slowing down natural decomposition long enough to allow for viewing and final goodbyes. The body is then placed into a wooden coffin or metal casket and placed in the ground, usually in a cement liner.
A green burial on the other hand, is done without the use of chemical preservatives which might destroy or inhibit the natural breakdown of the body. The deceased is not embalmed (no state in the US requires embalming by law, except in a very few select cases), allowing the body to fully decompose and return to the earth, truly embodying the phrase we hear so often at funerals…'ashes to ashes, dust to dust.’ There are also formaldehyde free embalming fluids for the preservation and sanitation of the body for those families who wish a traditional funeral service with the green burial.
With a natural burial, the body is placed in a casket or a shroud made of non-toxic biodegradable material and placed directly in the ground without any type of liner or vault. Depth may vary slightly, but graves are dug no deeper than 4 feet [with 3.5 feet optimal] for encouraging maximum natural decomposition. The intention is to hasten the return of the body to the natural world and to integrate the remains within the cycles of nature. All organisms that have lived, have died and returned to the soil, where constant microbial activity in the soil breaks everything down and recycles to new life.
In the past 20 years, cremation has become the overwhelming second option to traditional burial, mainly due to cost, but also for environmental reasons. While the cost of a green burial is substantially less than a traditional burial, it is only slightly more expensive than the burial of cremated remains and it is even more earth-friendly when considering burial or cremation.
There are many things to take into consideration when the time comes to care for a loved one's body after death. Whether the family chooses traditional burial, cremation or green burial, it is a very personal decision and one that is not to be taken lightly. The biggest decision is how to best honor and celebrate [a loved one’s] life. Should there be a formal service at a church or funeral home or smaller gatherings at a park or home, green burial is an option to consider. A our staff can help you navigate the ins and outs of these important decisions.
A green burial service is usually just a graveside service using a shroud or an eco-friendly casket. However some families choose to have a memorial service seperate from the burial, while others choose to have a home wake or service. Our staff can help you plan whatever you need to honor the life of your loved one.