At the end of a long county lane, the Goss family operates the scenic Bella Vista Farm.
The 200-plus-acre multi-use farm is home to a herd of beef cattle as well as crops such as corn and soybeans. A gentle flowing creek cuts through the property where local fishermen often stop to catch minnows for bait.
“We just love the beauty of it,” said Amber Goss. “We have some gorgeous mountains here. We’re a certified organic farm, so we’re very excited about that.”
What isn’t so exciting is the amount of garbage the family has been discovering on local roads and hiking trails. A particular stretch of Salem Road in Armagh Township, less than a mile from the farm, is littered with discarded soda and beer bottles, old newspapers, and fast food wrappers.
“A couple of weeks ago, me and my mom went out to the end of our lane and we cleaned up some trash, then we took it in and we’re recycling it now.” 10-year-old Aubrey Goss said. “It felt good.”
In an idea thought up by Aubrey and her 12-year-old sister Aspen, the Goss’s are offering prizes to people across Mifflin and Juniata counties and beyond who participate in the Bella Vista Farm Earth Day Challenge. Prizes include treatments at the Goss’s business, Bella Vista Farm Massage and Spa, also located on the property.
“I thought what a great incentive,” Amber said. “An hour massage is something I was donating from the spa here. And then we have a local farmer, an Amish farmer who has some great produce. Another farmer has some flower bunches and cut flowers. So, I got them involved to offer some items, and we’re trying to make difference in the community.”
To be eligible for prizes, anyone in the Midstate region who spends time between now and Sunday cleaning up garbage from along a road or other trash-ridden area can share pictures on a special Facebook event page that has been created. A winner will be selected from among those who collect the most trash.