In some countries, children pick crops for 14 hours a day. The United States is one of those countries.
The fourth event in this summer’s Good Food film series, part of the opening day of the Good Food Festival & Conference, will feature The Harvest/La Cosecha, a documentary directed by U. Roberto Romano that provides an unvarnished view of child and migrant labor in the United States’ food system.
As Tomatoland author Barry Estabrook recently noted,
Under [U.S.] law, there is no minimum age for children to work on small farms, provided they have parental permission. At age 12, children are allowed to work on any farm if their parents consent. By age 14 a child no longer needs parental permission. In non-agricultural jobs, children between the ages of 14 and 15 are allowed to work a maximum of three hours on a school day and eight hours on a non-school day. There are no daily limits for farmworkers. And like adult farmworkers, children in agriculture are entitled to no overtime, even if they work more than eight hours a day or more than 40 hours a week. By age 16, it is perfectly legal for a child to mix, handle, and apply even the most toxic pesticides.
Following the film will be a discussion about the labor issues that are invisible to most consumers’ eyes but are critically important to any conversation about making our food system fairer and safer. Our panelists will include Tom Philpott, a nationally recognized commentator on food and agricultural policy. Lisa Lucas Talbot, chapter leader of Slow Food Los Angeles and Slow Food USA’s regional governor for southern California, will moderate the discussion.
When: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 beginning at 7:30pm
Where: The Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica
Cost: Tickets range from $7.00 to $11.00 and are available online or at the Aero Theatre box office.
Tom Philpott writes the Food for Thought column for Mother Jones magazine and before that was a contributor to Grist. Tom is the cofounder of Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable food education in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. His work on food politics has appeared in Newsweek, Gastronomica, and the Guardian. Maverick Farms has been featured in Gourmet and The New York Times, and in September 2008, Food & Wine named Philpott one of “ten innovators” who “will continue to shape the culinary consciousness of our country for the next 30 years.” In 2011, he was a finalist for a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award in the “Food-Related Columns and Commentary” category.
Films in the series have been selected by the Good Food Festival Film Committee (Lisa Lucas Talbot, Laura Avery, Marguerite Kenner, Susan Haymer, and Corinne Bourdeau) and are being screened with the generous assistance of the staff of the American Cinematheque.
The inaugural Good Food Festival & Conference, launched as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, will be held September 14 through 18 and will feature an exceptional array of speakers, demonstrations, and events that will celebrate the bounty of our foodshed and consider the state of our food system. More information is being posted daily on the Good Food Festival website.