Eco-friendly cemetery alternative operates in forests

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Better Place Forests offers a natural and eco-friendly alternative to cemeteries, and costs around half the price. Your ashes are placed beneath a private tree in a peaceful forest where your loved ones can visit and remember you. We talked with Mark Kekhe, the Chief Real Estate Officer at Better Place Forests for more.

The company started in San Fransisco, however moved almost entirely to remote due to COVID-19. “We’re kind of a virtual company.”

What is Better Place Forests? “It’s a new concept and it’s really an alternative to traditional cemeteries,” Kekhe said.

Unlike traditional cemeteries, they deal exclusively with ashes, and operate in forests which cannot be disrupted or purchased.

“We actually don’t bury anything,” Kekhe said.

A family would have ashes of a loved one, mix the remains with soil from a forest and then spread around the forest, on leaves and on trees.

Families can buy private trees in a place that will not be cut down. Once they buy it, “that’s their family tree.”

Then, they can use a small bronze marker near the tree, with a name and sometimes a saying or song lyric that is meaningful to them.

Currently, Better Place Forests “mostly works in tree forests,” but sometimes within those forests are trees or lakes, where families can also choose to spread a loved one’s ashes.

“We now have 10 forests across the country” including one just outside of Flagstaff. In the future they plan to purchase more areas that are not necessarily forests.

In the event a purchased tree dies, or burns down, Better Place Forests will provide a new tree where the previous one was.

Mark Kekhe, Chief Real Estate Officer at Better Place Forests

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