The Permaculture Podcast

    1802 – Honoring the Dead and Holding the Dying: Natural Burial with Michael Judd

    How do we prepare for end of life? How do we honor the dead? How do we care for the living, through our rites and rituals, after a loved one passes?


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    Michael Judd joins me to answer these questions as he shares the very personal story of his father’s passing, and how his family went about establishing a home cemetery. He helps us navigate what to do in order to create our burial site; how to clear it with local officials, laws, and regulations; how to provide access in perpetuity; and how to legally and properly inter the deceased.

    From there we continue the conversation to talk about how we can prepare for our own end of life by creating an advanced directive; the options for green burial; the need for all of us to start having honest and open conversations about death, regardless of our age.

    We end with a series of listener questions.

    Find out more about Michael at You’ll find links to the organizations mentioned in the Resource section below.

    As I mentioned early in this episode, I see preparing for our own end and including our loved ones in those conversations early as essential to our work as permaculture practitioners, regardless of what level or degree you take your design to. If your focus is primarily on farm and land, then setting aside a place to hold the dead is essential. If your design takes you beyond the landscape, then what ways can you start the conversation with family members, friends, and your community? Can you take the ideas here, of the wake that Michael held, and apply them where you are? Or do you have different cultural hallmarks that mark the transition from life, just there are ones for entering it?

    I don’t know anyone for whom death and dying is an easy conversation, but if you have thoughts on this and would like to talk about them, or need some space for someone to listen as you grieve and seek closure, my door is always open.


    The Permaculture Podcast
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    Dauphin, PA 17018

    Ecologia Design
    National Home Funeral Alliance
    Crossings: Caring for own Own at Death
    International End of Life Doula Association
    Five Wishes – Aging with Dignity Advanced Directive
    Death Cafe
    Green Burial Council
    Penn Forest Cemetery
    Sparkroot Farm – Conservation Burial Ground in Moncure, North Carolina
    Urban Death Project (Facebook)

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    1. VasaVasa
      January 26, 2018    

      This interview had a big impact on me, thank you so much for offering it.

    2. VasaVasa
      January 30, 2018    

      I had been thinking of becoming a monthly supporter for a long time and this episode finally put me over the line on that!

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