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Documentary Review: The Harvest

A film about child labor and migrant farmwork, produced by Eva Longoria, premieres in July

Spurring Change

The creators of The Harvest hope the documentary will help spur change. At a June 2011 press conference on Capitol Hill, Longoria, along with a broad coalition of activists, touted a bill that would change archaic labor laws that date back to 1938, when family farms were more common.

Under current law, children who work in agriculture are allowed to work at younger ages, for longer hours and under more hazardous conditions than children who work in other industries. The new bill, known as the Children's Act for Responsible Employment, or CARE, would provide those who work in the fields with equal protection.

"Agriculture is one of our country's most dangerous occupations," says Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California), the bill's sponsor. "Yet it is the only industry in the country where our children are not equally protected by our child labor laws." The CARE Act, she says, "would end the double standard," eliminating provisions that allow children ages 10 to 13 to work in the fields and placing tighter restrictions on those who are 16 and older.

Advocates call the bill a first step in protecting hundreds of thousands of children who are exposed to the same kind of hazardous conditions as children in much less developed countries.

"People in agriculture have endured substandard wages and substandard treatment and substandard lives for so long to pick the food that we eat," Romano says. "We as a country to this day spend the least amount of our disposable income on food, so I want to know: Are we continuing to expect children to pick our food so that we can eat cheap?"

The Harvest, produced by Shine Global in association with Globalvision, Inc., and Romano Productions, will be released in theaters in New York and Los Angeles in late July and early August, on Epix on October 15 and on Discovery's Planet Green in 2012.

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