Spaulding Ranch 2

Spaulding Ranch 2

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
The growth in Idaho in terms of corporations, restaurants, people flooding in from places like Seattle, Portland, California and buying pre-existing homes or buying lots and then building on them, is mind boggling. It used to be that the drive from the west end of Boise out to Caldwell was primarily farmland. Nowadays, that has all changed. Farms have been eaten up and developers have come in to literally and radically change the landscape. But there is one exception at least.

Spaulding Ranch 1939, four miles SW of Boise. 

The Ranch is on Cole Road. O n the bench and it's so remote it might as well be 40 miles. Farming is the life’s blood of Ada County, food grown here feeds neighbors and city folk and the farm grows row crops, cattle, and they have a dairy. 

They sell all their commodities to town, some shipped away. By 2021 Boise’s Cole Road is densely populated, with just 20 acres of the grand old ranch still intact. It's the last track of farmland in the city of Boise. Now the city is moving forward, turning the 127-year-old farm into a farm-themed park. 

"And what we've heard," said Sara Arkle of the City, "Pretty loud and clear, people want to see urban agriculture done on this site. They want to see orchards, they want to see veggie plots, they want to see education and they want to see the buildings rehabbed and restored and improved so that we are paying homage to the history of the area." 

A park, an urban farm, that's not only beautiful but a place where people, kids can learn about agriculture. 

"To actually have a life-learning laboratory where we could bring out students of all ages, from 4H to college, to our adult learners. Putting those programs actually on a site, where people are going to learn by doing and to build their skills and then do things on their own property or even continue to do it here as a community farm!" said Aerial Agenbroad of the U of I Ag Extension office. 

"They can really get their hands dirty, really understand what is going on in the world of agriculture. Or anything! We can finally have them understand where their food comes from," said Allen Taggart of the U of I. 

Spaulding Ranch will rise again—as a monument to agriculture, with refurbished barns and a remodeled ranch house, with classrooms and even a cafe. While Boise recognizes its roots and honors the foundation on which the city was built.

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