Jim Bell, creator and owner of Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground was born and raised in Atlanta. Jim received his education at Oxford College and Emory University. He has a degree in business from Emory. Jim moved to Milton 35 years ago and began renovating the old Nix family farmhouse where he lives today. He named the 30-acre property “Richland Farm” in memory of the small South Georgia town where his grandfather lived. Jim’s property is adjacent to the 17-acre Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground.
In an effort to preserve the natural beauty of his land, Jim researched green burial cemeteries. He consulted with the Green Burial Council (GBC), the leading force behind the green cemetery movement and the “gold standard” among consumers, land trusts, park service agencies and the cemetery/funeral profession. To create a Natural Burial Ground in Milton, Georgia, Jim partnered with Conservation Burial Partners, the consulting arm of the GBC, and worked closely with local municipalities. Milton Fields is zoned as a cemetery by the City of Milton and has been approved as a perpetual care cemetery by the Georgia Secretary of State. This ensures that Milton Fields will be maintained in perpetuity.
The Milton community has embraced the Natural Burial Ground concept. In the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood was quoted as saying, “I support it. It’s a practical solution to the inevitable. It’s very natural, very green, and with that use of the property, you have some beautiful land for wildlife, like a park, versus a traditional cemetery with fences and headstones.” The Mayor also commented that he had heard only positive responses from the community about Milton Fields Natural Burial Ground.
Jim’s love of land conservation is evident in the actions he has taken to establish a Natural Burial Ground in Georgia. His commitment to the principle is also evident in his plans to be buried at Milton Fields.