By Avital Binshtock
Grain Trust | Trendsetter: Eva Longoria
Eva Longoria, actor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Photo courtesy of Cinema Libre Studio
TRENDSETTER: EVA LONGORIA
EVA LONGORIA, who plays the self-involved Gabrielle Solis on ABC's Desperate Housewives, takes on extracurricular projects that set her far apart from her shallow onscreen persona. Longoria is the executive producer of The Harvest, a new documentary about young migrant laborers on U.S. farms. She is also a restaurateur, a cookbook author, and an advocate for an array of organizations, including the United Farm Workers.
I've been a longtime advocate of farmworker rights. Shine Global, which makes films about the exploitation of children around the world, came to me and said, "We're doing a project about child farmworkers in America." I was pretty well versed in this world, but even I didn't realize how many kids are in the fields: 400,000. It blew me away.
We want to humanize the kids and the issue. People associate farmworkers with illegal immigrants, and that's really not the case: The majority of these kids are American-born. They're stuck in a cycle of poverty. They can't go to school, they get to school late, they have to get out of school early, and they're always migrating.
"I have a passion to do this work
because I consume food. If you
eat produce, you should take into
account where it comes from."
The EPA regulations for what's considered a safe dose to spray on workers in the field are based on the weight of a 160-pound man. The dosage these children are getting is usually three to four times the amount that their little bodies can take.
[Laughs.] I was inspired by my mother and by how selfless our family was toward others who didn't have enough. I was an activist long before I was famous.
Absolutely. I make them cook seasonally, so the menus constantly change. A raspberry out of season not only tastes horrible; it's also pumped with hormones.
No, my costars are greener than I am! Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross, we all drive hybrids. But I did ban bottled water from my house—we have a water-filter system so you can drink from the tap. We always drink out of glass, and recycling is a huge deal, which everybody can partake in. So many people think you have to be rich and famous to really create an impact, and it's just not true.
The main thing is to be philanthropic in your everyday life. You don't have to have money to do that. You can do it with your time and your energy. —A.B.
ON THE WEB To read a longer interview with Eva Longoria, go to The Green Life.