A Historic Initiative by Roots of Peace, MAG, Tetra Tech and Rotary Club of Odessa at the World Food Prize Ceremony
Des Moines, Iowa, October 25, 2023 – “We’re turning mines into vines by transforming fields of conflict into fields of opportunity,” declared Heidi Kühn, Founder of Roots of Peace and the 2023 World Food Prize Laureate, as she unveiled the transformative “Demine, Replant, Rebuild Alliance” during her award acceptance. This historic initiative, a partnership between Roots of Peace, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), Tetra Tech and the Rotary Club of Odessa, pledges to resurrect the war-damaged vineyards and agricultural lands of Southern Ukraine.
These vineyards are a risk to farmers, children, and animals. They are set to morph from death traps into thriving sources of livelihood. The first phase of the alliance, buoyed by a significant Rotary Global Grant of $160,000, began in early October 2023, with Roots of Peace and the Rotary Club of Odessa working to resurrect the vineyards of Southern Ukraine. These vineyards, currently death traps, are set to morph into thriving sources of livelihood.
The alliance’s second phase will see further support for the clearance and rebuilding of vineyards and the expansion with MAG into demining and replanting vital agricultural land that has been left contaminated with explosive weapons and unsafe to farm.
The alliance is devoted to:
• Eliminating hidden landmines and explosive remnants in vineyards.
• Reviving the soil so farmers can re-establish prosperous wine production.
• Creating internships in world-renowned vineyards to increase the skills of Ukrainian vintners, with training in California’s Napa Valley to sprawling European domains.
Jamie Franklin, Executive Director of MAG America, emphasized,
“We’re about orchestrating a renaissance from the remnants of conflict, transforming hazardous terrains into flourishing farmlands.”
MAG is a global NGO that delivers landmine, unexploded ordnance clearance, and risk education to affected communities in more than 30 countries globally. The organization is building its program in Ukraine and expects to scale its operations in the coming months and years significantly.
Confronting a landscape where 30% is contaminated with landmines post-invasion, the alliance’s aspirations extend beyond mere land clearance.
Mr Franklin said:
“We will be working in partnership with the Ukrainian people to make agricultural land once again safe and productive, delivering vital support to communities and the local economy.”
Mark Dollar, Tetra Tech Unit President, expressed support for the alliance and appreciation for the generous U.S. and Canadian funding that underpins the company’s humanitarian mine action work in Ukraine.
“The conflict in Ukraine has focused the world’s attention on food insecurity. As an implementing partner of the U.S. Department of State, Tetra Tech is pleased to support Roots of Peace and Rotary E-Club of Ukraine in tackling this crucial issue of global importance.”
The U.S. Department of State, with $5.5 million in donor support from Global Affairs Canada, has provided $8 million to MAG, and $118.8 million to Tetra Tech, for humanitarian mine action activities in Ukraine. Among other activities, this support funding enables the survey and clearance of agricultural land under this initiative, paving the way for the alliance to implement its efforts.
A symbol of this is the “Roots of Peace Ukraine Cabernet Sauvignon,” a tribute in a bottle to the resilience of the Ukrainian spirit. Its label bears the image of mines, but its contents pledge peace. It represents a journey from turmoil to triumph.
“This is more than a libation; it’s a symbol of perseverance, a narrative of peace in every bottle,” affirmed Mykola Stebljanko of the Rotary Club of Odessa.
The World Food Prize event, a conference for over 1,200 delegates from more than 60 nations, is the springboard for this alliance, intent on gathering support from every corner of the globe. Attendees were immersed in compelling tales of bravery and innovation, including heart-rending accounts from Vietnamese female deminers.
Heidi Kühn, in her announcement, passionately emphasized,
” We’re not just extracting landmines; we’re planting seeds of sustainable peace and prosperity. Our vision is holistic rejuvenation — from demining to empowering communities, from ecological balance to agricultural opulence. We’re here to sow the seeds of hope, resilience, and life.” “Demine, replant, rebuild” is our mission.
This collaboration between Roots of Peace, MAG, Tetra Tech and the Rotary Club demonstrates the power of public and private partnerships in targeting Ukraine’s immense reconstruction challenges.
ABOUT ROOTS OF PEACE
Roots of Peace supports the world’s most vulnerable farmers and traders, removing the remnants of war and restoring agricultural productivity and prosperity. Roots of Peace is a humanitarian organization dedicated to the removal of landmines and the subsequent replanting and rebuilding of war-torn regions. Founded in 1997 by Heidi Kuhn, the goal of Roots of Peace is to turn minefields into farmland and support victims of landmine accidents. For more information click here.
ABOUT MINES ADVISORY GROUP (MAG)
MAG is a global organization that delivers humanitarian mine action in more than 30 countries globally, clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance, and delivering risk education programmes, so communities can live in safety. MAG also delivers weapons and ammunition management programmes to reduce the risk of armed violence. MAG is a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in the campaign that led to the Anti=Personnel Mine Ban Treaty.
ABOUT TETRA TECH, INC
Tetra Tech is a leading global provider of consulting and engineering services. We are differentiated by Leading with Science® to provide innovative technical solutions to our clients. We support global commercial and government clients focused on water, environment, sustainable infrastructure, renewable energy, and international development. With 27,000 employees worldwide, Tetra Tech provides clear solutions to complex problems.
ABOUT ROTARY E-CLUB Of UKRAINE
We are the first web based Ukrainian Rotary club with operations supported by web technologies and electronic communications. Our Club is just like any traditional Rotary club. The only difference is that members meet online to coordinate service projects and enjoy fellowship with likeminded Rotarians. The mission of Rotary e-Club Ukraine is to connect, inform, inspire, and involve members in Service Above Self from around the world. More information can be found at http://rotaryeclubukraine.org/.
ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE
The World Food Prize is an international award that honors individuals who have improved the quality, quantity, or availability of food worldwide. The Prize was founded by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, for his work that contributed to increases in agricultural outputs, which was termed the Green Revolution. Since then, the Prize has been awarded to 52 worthy individuals during the Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue. The Dialogue, also known as the Borlaug Dialogue, is a week of events dedicated to an issue surrounding food insecurity or hunger each year.