school

Nine-year-old girl's lunch blog shames school and local politicians into making changes

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 by: PF Louis
Tags: school lunch, children, food

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(NaturalNews) A nine-year-old Scottish girl, Martha Payne, got some help from her dad to set up her blog "Never Seconds," in which she displayed her school's lunches and created her own content about them.

Although the photos of those meals were not flattering, Martha was not decrying her school's food. Instead, her ratings were rather generous.

Martha's dad was amazed at the large international following of her blog. It had accrued 2 million hits and she was raised over $3,100 U.S. for a charity called Mary's Meals.

Martha had found out about Mary's Meals from her grandfather, who told her it was started locally and spread internationally as a charity to feed needy school children in impoverished areas.

Grandpa assured Martha that the charity was efficient and genuine. They used almost all of the funds to feed needy school children.

But one day, Martha was called into the school office and told she could no longer photograph and display school lunches in her blog. She was also warned about her comments on school lunch staffers and inspectors from the Argyll and Bute Council.

The Argyll and Bute Council is the governing body of Argyll and Bute in Western Scotland, comparable to a USA county containing several communities. Martha's dad informed The Telegraph that the school had been supportive, but the council decided to step in and say no to Martha.

What Martha did and what happened

Martha wrote a sad goodbye to her blog followers with her lament over not having raised enough money for Mary's Meals to buy a new kitchen in another area targeted for needy school children (http://neverseconds.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/goodbye.html).

Though she might have been able to continue her blog without the pictures, her goodbye drew outrage from her followers. Tweets on Twitter soon became a "top-trending" topics in Britain, trending third internationally.

Among those tweeting and supporting Martha, whose blog name is Veg, were celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Nick Naim. Even the Scottish Education Minister got into the act, criticizing the Argyll and Bute Council for its "ridiculous decision."

It seems famous television personality Jamie Oliver has had something to do with improving school meal standards in Britain, which now includes increased veggies and fresh fruit. It also seems that Argyl and Bute schools were lagging behind Britain's improved school lunch fare.

To make matters worse for the Argyll and Bute Council, Wired Magazine posted the council's website, email address and Twitter handle on its online article criticizing the council's decision to shut down Martha "Veg" Payne's site.

The outraged response not only forced the council to back down and apologize, but Veg's charity contribution drive swiftly rose from slightly over $3,000 to $35,000.

So Veg and her blog are back in business, raising funds for Mary's Meals, and maybe the schools of Argyle and Bute will do something to improve their school lunches.

What school food should be

Local French school districts actually employ chefs who supervise cooks in-training by using modern kitchens to prepare four and five course freshly prepared meals daily. The foods are fresh from local farms. Menus are constantly changed.

Children are allowed to go home for lunch. No vending machines are allowed in the schools. Fresh fruit snacks are offered. Nothing compares to the French standard of school food.

Sources for this article include:

http://grist.org

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/neverseconds-shut-down/

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1969729,00.html

http://simplegoodandtasty.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argyll_and_Bute

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