10/20/2010— Radio journalist Angela Evancie has put together a fantastic series profiling people in Vermont and New York who are returning to simple, private funerals and burials; folks opting out of the commercial funeral industry for personal, financial, and environmental reasons. Her series profiles families who’ve carried out in-home funerals without the undertaker (a practice our great-grandparents would find familiar), local woodworkers who make simple coffins, and people returning to the tradition of burying their dead quietly at home on the family farm. Her website, champlainsounding.org, introduces the series:
There was a time in this country when natural home births were standard practice. Then came the rise of institutional medicine, and even though being pregnant is not always the same as being sick, hospitals became the site for all things reproductive. Today, less than 1% of all births in the U.S. take place in the home.Interestingly, the same fate that befell those entering this life also affected those leaving it. Death care has been equally institutionalized, with strange interlocutors bowing in and out at every step. It’s also been commodified. The average funeral costs about $6,000, according to the Funeral Consumers Alliance, and often takes place at that other home – the funeral home.
Check-out the multi-part series of audio slideshows, some of which have aired on North Country Public Radio.