Jim Bell, creator and owner of Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground was born and raised in Atlanta. Jim received his education at Oxford College and Emory University. He has a degree in business from Emory. Jim moved to Milton 35 years ago and began renovating the old Nix family farmhouse where he lives today. He named the 30-acre property "Richland Farm" in memory of the small South Georgia town where his grandfather lived. Jim's property is adjacent to the 17-acre Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground.
In an effort to preserve the natural beauty of his land, Jim researched green burial cemeteries. He consulted with the Green Burial Council (GBC), the leading force behind the green cemetery movement and the "gold standard" among consumers, land trusts, park service agencies and the cemetery/funeral profession. To create a Natural Burial Ground in Milton, Georgia, Jim partnered with Conservation Burial Partners, the consulting arm of the GBC, and worked closely with local municipalities. Milton Fields is zoned as a cemetery by the City of Milton and has been approved as a perpetual care cemetery by the Georgia Secretary of State. This ensures that Milton Fields will be maintained in perpetuity.
The Milton community has embraced the Natural Burial Ground concept. In the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood was quoted as saying, "I support it. It's a practical solution to the inevitable. It's very natural, very green, and with that use of the property, you have some beautiful land for wildlife, like a park, versus a traditional cemetery with fences and headstones." The Mayor also commented that he had heard only positive responses from the community about Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground.
Jim's love of land conservation is evident in the actions he has taken to establish a Natural Burial Ground in Georgia. His commitment to the principle is also evident in his plans to be buried at Milton Fields. For more information on Milton Fields Cemetery Proptery please call Jim at (770)751-1445
Green burials have been practiced for centuries and were common until the late 19th century. Green burials at Milton Fields do not use formaldehyde-based embalming, caskets made of metal or exotic wood, concrete burial vaults or large stone monuments. The deceased’ s body is not embalmed. Refrigeration or dry ice is used. The body is then placed in a casket made of renewable, biodegradable material or wrapped in a fabric shroud before being gently placed directly in the ground. A natural burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative to a conventional funeral. Green burials at Milton Fields will promote environmental preservation and land conservation.
Embalmed bodies can't be interred in a Natural Burial Ground. The European Union has declared embalming fluid a known carcinogen. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named formaldehyde as a “probable” carcinogen. The World Health Organization declared it a known carcinogen. The Green Burial Council wants to ensure that alternatives are available to people who want to minimize their environmental impact and handle their death in a natural way. According to the GBC, “In very few circumstances is embalming actually required by law and a ‘ funeral with a viewing’ is not one of them. GBC-approved funeral directors make available refrigeration and/or dry ice as an alternative to embalming.”
Instead of a casket made of metal or endangered woods, a green burial uses a casket made of pine, poplar, ash or wicker. Alternatively, the body may be wrapped in a shroud of biodegradable fibers such as linen or cotton.
Most cemeteries require the purchase of a vault or outer burial container into which the casket is placed. These containers range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. They were originally used to keep the ground from sinking and to protect caskets from grave robbers. Before vaults came into use, cemeteries simply mounded the excess dirt on top of the grave. Later, the dirt was leveled off, if necessary. No state or federal laws require vaults. GBC-certified cemeteries specify that no vaults can be used. Bodies are interred in a biodegradable coffin or shroud and placed directly in the earth. Gradually, the body returns to the earth in a natural progression.
Of course. Milton Fields works with local GBC-approved funeral providers to ensure that you and your loved ones can create a meaningful service. When a person dies, in most states the law requires refrigeration, burial, cremation or embalming within 24 hours. Many funeral homes have refrigeration available and are required by law to notify you that embalming is not required.
From an emotional and financial standpoint, pre-planning is a smart decision. It is an act of love –your pre-planning will ease your family’ s stress during what can be a difficult time. Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground can recommend local funeral directors who are approved by the Green Burial Council.
Each burial space is carefully platted, recorded and marked with numbered, lettered pins inserted into the ground. If you wish, the space can have an approved memorial (such as engraved stone markers) placed on the actual plot.
Yes. Cremated remains may be buried in biodegradable urns or scattered in a section of the cemetery reserved for ashes. Beautiful urns made of natural materials may be purchased from Byrd & Flanigan Crematory & Funeral Service.
Yes. Milton Fields’ perpetual care trust agreement was approved by and registered with the Georgia Office of the Secretary of State. We are considered a perpetual or endowment-care cemetery. When a plot is purchased, we are required by law to deposit a specified amount in an irrevocable trust account. Only the interest from the account is used to maintain the cemetery. The endowment ensures that Milton Fields will be properly cared for in perpetuity.
Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., all year long. The cemetery is open for visitation but closed for burials on the following holidays: New Years Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.