WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark (KNWA) — The first evergreen burial site in the natural state is in the works for Northwest Arkansas. The project aims to bring back burial practices from hundreds of years ago.

The Washington County planning commission has given the go-ahead for the cemetery project and approved the permit request.

​Owner of Cheap Thrills clothing store, Greta Allendorf said she is glad to see more natural “end of life options”  in the works. “It’s about time that the natural state had a natural option when it comes to death.”

​​It’s an environmentally friendly option for those going below earth’s surface known as a “green cemetery”. Allendorf, who is also a Certified death midwife said she sees the need for it in northwest Arkansas. ​”I deal with families all the time who have heard of green burials and who don’t want to be embalmed but there is not really a place to go. ​

Shrouding Workshop
Courtesy Greta Allendorf

Allendorf said her first-hand experience with a green burial was with her mother in law seven years ago. Her family even built a pine coffin for her. ​​”We buried her in a small private cemetery in the woods and we filled the hole ourselves and it was just life-changing.” ​​

The cemetery would be built near the north end of honeysuckle road in the Nob Hill area. The land is already in the works to become a native plant and wildlife sanctuary. The property owners want to designate about 10 acres of the land to become a conservation earth burial cemetery.

Washington County Planning Director, ​​Nathan Crouch said “The green burial cemetary will have restrictions on the type of or methods of burials. For example, there will be no embalming, no caskets and there will be no vaults.” ​

There will also be no headstones and GPS coordinates will be used for the different graves on the land.   Allendorf said that’s the way it should be ​​”personally if I was to be buried that is what I would want. It just feels more natural to go back into the earth. That’s what we were meant to do, decompose and go back where we came from.”

​Though the permit for the burial site was approved by the planning commission, it still needs to go through the quorum court to be ratified.