b'PROGRAM OF PROMISEWhen you have kids, its risky to buy new thingsJennifer Bertron is the Community Collaborationmake every cent count. Moms are not willing Coordinator at the Food Bank of the Southernto risk spending money on something their kids Tier, and shes familiar with what it takes tomight not like or eat, says Bertron.improve access to fruits and vegetables for families in the Elmira area. When asked whatThats why the Food Bank of the Southern Tier she sees as the greatest challenge to equitableruns the Kids Farmers Market program, which access, her answer is a familiar one: Familiesallows kids to shop for vegetables of their own just dont have enough resources to purchasechoosing. They might pick items they absolutely what they need. love or items that theyre simply curious to try; either way, the program exposes the children When I first started doing this work, I used toto a variety of produce without any risk to hear that people didnt know what to do withtheir families grocery budgets. These farmers fresh fruits and vegetables, she says. But Imarkets are held across the Southern Tier dont seem to hear that too much any more. Iduring the summer at free Summer Meal sites hear more about the cost. and during the school year at specific after-school programs.And with cost comes another interesting concern: Families stick to buying the sameIts hard for the folks that were serving to food items and hesitate to buy anything new orparticipate in a local or regional fresh food different, even if those new items might be a farprogram unless we bring it to them, says healthier choice. Bertron. Thats why a connection between farms and a program like this is so great: It You have to realize that, when you have kids,influences the kids and that in turn influences its risky to buy new things, says Bertron.the parents.Parents dont know if the new food is something their kids are going to like. This poses a unique and, perhaps, underappreciated challenge for families who have limited resources and need to 26'