Heidi Kühn embodies her family's tradition of working towards a more peaceful world. With her husband and children by her side, her organization Roots of Peace eradicates buried mines in war-torn countries and works with farmers to rehabilitate their fields with vineyards and other income-generating crops.
“This quest for ‘pioneering peace’ has always been passed down through generations.”
As a child of the sixties, Heidi Kühn and her brother were ingrained with — as she says — “the grounded messages of ‘peace and love’.” As an adult, she translated that mantra into an organization, Roots of Peace, that helps indigenous people “by replacing the scourge of landmines with bountiful vineyards worldwide.” With her husband Gary of thirty years, Heidi has exchanged mines for vines (and other crops) in many far flung “war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Angola, Croatia, Cambodia, Iraq, Israel, West Bank and Vietnam.”
Heidi insists her work is a matter of heritage. She says, “Proudly, I am a 5th generation descendent of a pioneer California family, and this quest for ‘pioneering peace’ has always been passed down through generations.” Her four children are also heirs to the “family business” as Heidi calls it, working side-by-side to assist with her mission. But this is not a Mom'n'Pop: "Roots of Peace works in 28 of the 34 provinces, employs over 500 Afghans, planted 5 million trees, and doubles/triples the average income for Afghan farmers. This is ‘not’ your typical Marin County family!"
Roots of Peace uses trained dogs to sniff out the mines before a remote control flail tractor is used to remove and/or detonate the mine when possible; mines must be removed by hand in rocky or more sensitive areas. Heidi’s work has impacted hundreds of thousands of Afghan farmers as the mine removal opens up huge swaths of land that can double or triple farmer incomes through alternative agricultural crops like grapes and poppies.