New Cross community food project calls for volunteers

Pic: Hana Walker-Brown

Arifa Arab currently runs the Eat a Rainbow Food Co-op Pic: Hana Walker-Brown

The 170 Community Health Project  is calling for volunteers to assist with their fresh fruit and vegetable stall,  the Eat a Rainbow Food Co-op.

The project seeks to support the community by promoting cost effective access to healthy food.

Eat a Rainbow Food Co-Op is a branch of the 170 Community charity organisation based in New Cross.

It says its main aim is to support individuals and groups that have been marginalised from mainstream economic, social and cultural opportunities.

The volunteer-run co-op  was set up in 2012 to provide New Cross with good quality, fresh fruit and veg at affordable prices.

Arfia Arab has recently taken over the running of the food co-op stall and stressed the importance of  providing for the community:

“Fresh produce can be very expensive in the supermarkets and we understand the importance of getting our five a day, so we’re trying to build a bridge between that — making it healthy and affordable for our community.”

All produce is freshly sourced from the new Spitalfields Market and is well received by locals.

One customer said, “I find the big shops very expensive but this is a good price for me, and it’s very fresh. I always let them keep the change because they are a good charity.”

Arab is positive about her position within the community.

“I love doing the job,” she said.  “I love meeting the local people, answering their queries and providing for them every week.”

With only a handful of current volunteers, she is hoping that the warmer weather will bring in extra hands.

“We are currently trying to expand, so we are looking for more volunteers,” Arab said. “Luckily the weather is changing so hopefully more people would like to come and spend time outside in the sunshine on the stall!”

Eat a Rainbow Food Co-op is open every Monday between 9:30am and 1pm outside the New Cross post office. Volunteers can contact Arfia Arab directly at





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