Farmer Niall Whelan harvesting potatoes

Raising funds for the Yemen food crisis with farmer Niall Whelan

An important issue without enough air time

With the help of UNICEF and Niall Whelan of Thrive Farm, we are raising money for children affected by the Yemen Food Crisis. 100% of the proceeds raised from the sale of Thrive Farm’s potatoes will be donated to UNICEF. For every kilo of potatoes you buy, €2.50 will be donated to the UNICEF Yemen Emergency Appeal Fund.

Niall came up with this idea earlier in the year, and alongside our Produce Supervisor Niamh developed a fundraiser hosted at the Co-op. Niall is donating all funds raised from the potatoes he sells through Dublin Food Co-op to Unicef, who are working to help those in need in Yemen this winter. 

100% of funds raised are going to the UNICEF Yemen Emergency Appeal Fund

Food and activism, from Niall

I grew up farming and decided to stay on this path because it connected me with two things I
am really passionate about; food and activism. I really care about it and think there is so
much meaning behind food. It is such a deep, deep subject for me. It has an expansive
reach in terms of what it can mean or achieve, in terms of the environment and climate
change for example. I’d like to consider myself someone who cares about nature and people
first. I farm to try and encompass my love and appreciation for nature itself. I would also
have a desire to be a food activist more and more into the future. That has started with my
first idea of the potato project which I started this year.

There is a famine impacting millions of people, and I don’t hear many people talking about it.

Yemen Food Crisis

There are so many causes I want to work 

with in the future. Most of them are around the subjects of farmers rights and protection of food and seed crops in developing countries and causes that help protect nature and biodiversity. This year, I had to pick the Yemen Food Crisis because I think there is no more of a desperate situation than starvation and hunger. I wanted to highlight the situation in Yemen because it is an unusual situation that there is a famine impacting millions of people, and I don’t hear many people talking about it.

Potatoes outside Dublin Food Co-op

Taking action

Considering the fact that we were a country whose ancestors passed through a 

famine, we are in a unique position of being able to understand. I think complacency 

is an element of what keeps a famine going, so I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and do something! Because of its significance in the Irish famine, I thought what better crop to grow than the potato! So I wanted to grow potatoes so it would, kind of, help deliver a message to people and reconnect them with something that we are no longer a part of but others still are.


A rapid response mechanism is an emergency response modality for delivering humanitarian aid to vulnerable people, including children, displaced by ongoing insecurity in Yemen. UNICEF works with a consortium of NGOs to help get life-saving supplies to people when they are most vulnerable. 

Since May of 2021, more than 118,600 displaced persons have received a rapid response kit that has met their basic needs and enabled them to live with dignity during a time of great upheaval. The boxes, distributed under UNICEF’s Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) together with partners, contained food items, hygiene items such as soap and sanitary napkins composing a “dignity kit”, and a family hygiene kit with detergent, towels and other items for the family.

If you would like to support this very important project and help raise funds, choose Niall’s organic potatoes when you are next in the Co-op. You can identify them by the sign posted alongside them, or ask a staff member. 

For more information about the work UNICEF is doing to help, visit UNICEF

UNICEF Yemen Food Crisis
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