Press Release


Farm-City Forums Between Mayors and Farm Leaders To Promote Smart Land Use Are Planned for Later Year

New Orleans, LA (June 12, 1999) - The United States Conference of Mayors and the American Farmland Trust today announced at the Mayors 67th Annual Meeting the formation of an urban-rural coalition to focus on issues concerning the preservation of America’s farmland and revitalizing America’s cities.

The Conference of Mayors and American Farmland Trust coalition is planning a number of joint ventures including conducting farm-city forums between Mayors and agricultural leaders to discuss public policies that will promote smarter land use decisions to include the reuse of brownfields sites and the preservation of farmland.

"We have formed this partnership because we realize that many of the goals of both organizations compliment each other," said Mayor Deedee Corradini, President of the Conference of Mayors. "By working together, we hope to raise the nation’s awareness of the importance of using our economic resources more wisely in order to preserve our natural resources."

Ralph Grossi, President of American Farmland Trust said, "The recycling of brownfields and protection of greenfields, including the productive farmland near cities that produces half the food grown in America, can best be achieved through joining forces and working cooperatively together to foster greater communication and understanding between urban and rural interests, and to unite them as a constituency for a broad, smart growth policy agenda."

"One of the nation’s most pressing environmental concerns is the loss of open space – farmlands and forests – brought about by our continuing patterns of urbanization," said Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke, Immediate Past President of the Conference of Mayors. "We recycle glass, aluminum and paper but as a nation we don’t fully recycle our most precious resource, our land. This pattern of throwing away our land must change if we are to create more livable communities."

"The formation of an urban-rural partnership which brings together Mayors and agricultural leaders is a major first step towards a better understanding of how each of our needs can be worked on to benefit the entire nation," said Mayor Lee Clancey of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The American Farmland Trust is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to stop the loss of productive farmlands and promote practices that lead to a healthy environment.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official bipartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more represented by its chief elected official, the mayor.