The Harvest is a surprising and powerful documentary that follows the lives of migrant workers who work sometimes up to 7-12 hours a day, sometimes up to 6 months a year, toiling in heat and pesticide laden fields for little profits. The real kicker though? The movie follows the lives of three American children who are doing just that, right there in the US, and the estimates are that there are about 400,000 of them in total in the country.
The message is really important, but it’s not always that easy to watch. The kids sometimes start working in the fields as young as 8 and mainly do it to help their families because they are so poor. It is upsetting to me that families would take advantage of their children this way, but it is also equally upsetting that they would be so poor and unskilled to feel like they have to, as the average family makes less than $17,500 per year. Ironically, even thought they pick the produce they can’t always afford the store prices for these very same foods. Since the kids move from farm to farm their school work also suffers, and it keeps them in a vicious cycle, with little hope of a way out.
There was a bill introduced in congress called HR 2234, known as The Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE) which this film helped to gain support for to try and make changes in law to these loopholes, however, I’m unclear on if it actually passed and was made into law. From what I’ve been able to find it looks like the loophole still exists.
Interested in knowing more? Here’s the trailer:
And for information on the bill here’s a link to Congress woman Lucille Roybal-Allard’s page