Daily food blog of young school girl shames council into changing school lunches
Editorial assistant on CorpComms Magazine
Nine year old Martha Payne from Argyll in Scotland has shamed her school into making healthy lunch changes through writing a daily blog about her school dinners.
On 8 May, Martha Payne began posting reviews, ratings and photos of her £2 school lunches on a blog named NeverSeconds under the alias of VEG (which is short for Veritas Ex Gustu, the Latin translation for 'truth from tasting').
Martha's blog includes a 'Food-o-meter', which rates how good the food tastes on a scale of one to ten, the number of mouthfuls (to help readers understand portion size), a health rating, and even the number of strands of hair she found in her food.
What started as a writing project with her father quickly caught the attention of the press and online users across the world, including celebrity chef and veteran school food campaigner Jamie Oliver. Her blog has already received more than 900,000 views.
After just five ratings, the local council took notice and sent representatives to inspect the lunch system first hand at Lochgilphead Primary. On 17 May, Martha's father Dave Payne met with the council and returned home with news that her school will now provide unlimited salad, fruit and bread to those who request the items.
The school's lunch system has also been changed to provide children with a coloured wristband depending on their chosen menu, which they select after morning registration.
Commenting on this change, Payne blogged: 'I think the system is so that no one can change their mind. I think the wristbands are a good idea because it was annoying when the food ran out.'
NeverSeconds has seen images and reviews of school lunches posted from Taiwan, America and Spain, as well as a packed lunch box reminding readers 'not everyone has school dinners'.
After only her third post, Jamie Oliver tweeted Dave Payne saying: 'Shocking but inspirational blog. Keep going, Big love from Jamie x.'
He also sent Martha a copy of his Jamie's Great Britain cookery book, with the inscription: 'Dear Martha, great work!! Clever girl. Lots of love, Jamie O xxx Keep it up!!'
To discover more about the beginnings of what has turned into an international campaign you can listen to a radio interview with Martha and her dad here.