Better Place Forests is a startup from San Francisco that provided the first conservation forests for spreading ashes.
Located in Point Arena in California, there’s a visitor center. And, every forest has a different building; one may have bathrooms, another one storage area.
They were all made with one goal-to help make lasting memories for families who’ll visit their loved ones who’re no longer with them.
The startup is changing how people are remembered after their death.
The Positive Story of Better Place Forests
The startup was launched in 2015 by Sandy Gibson, Jamie Knowlton, and Brad Milne and it’s a cemetery alternative for cremated people.
They help you create a family memorial under a protected tree in their forest.
And, a person or a relative will choose a tree for a person who died or will die and when he/she is cremated, the ashes are spread into the tree’s base.
In addition to human ashes, they also allow that of dogs to be spread as well.
However, the startup doesn’t do cremations; the family must find where to do it on their own.
They do help combine the ashes with the local soil that further helps balance its pH so that the bone ash breaks down into nutrients that the forest will take.
After this memorial ceremony, the company’s employees manage the tree for the family, as well as the impact trees included in the purchase of the tree.
They partnered with One Tree Planted to plant the young impact trees in the areas affected by fire and drought and encourage their restoration.
The employees also keep the forests pristine clean by removing invasive species and ensuring it’s accessible for people to visit the memorial trees and monuments.
According to Gibson, the goal is to create a moment and help them realize that the person they loved so much is one with nature.
The company purchases forests, but they need to be privately-owned, not already protected public ones.
How Is the Company Funded?
Their funding is mainly from venture capital-they’ve raised $12 million from it, according to New York Times.
They have 46 employees and 7 working remotely in Santa Cruz County.
The company is the brainchild of Gibson who came up with the idea after he lost his dad when he was just 10 and then his mom a year later.
He didn’t like that his mom’s life ended with a black tombstone, on a busy street with vehicles passing by. Endings are remembered, he explained, so it’s important to have a good one.