A nine-year-old’s revolt

Blog>> Food • Scotland

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

imageA Scottish local authority has overturned a ban on a schoolgirl’s food blog after public protest. In early May, Martha Payne, who lives in Argyll and Bute council area, some 200 km from Edinburgh, began taking photos of the uninspiring lunches provided by her school canteen and posting them on her blog, NeverSeconds.

The blog, which saw the nine-year-old rate her lunches on a range of factors, including health, taste and the number of strands of human hair they contained, rapidly gained a strong following. Readers from worldwide began emailing snaps of their canteen lunches to Payne. She also used the blog to raise money for Mary’s Meals, a charity providing food for children in developing countries.

But on June 16 councillors of Argyll and Bute told Payne to stop uploading the photos because they were upsetting cafeteria staff. The ban became an online talking point, with free speech group, Index on Censorship, weighing in on Payne’s behalf.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tweeted “Stay strong Martha” to his two million followers. The councillors recanted a day later, saying, “The cafeteria staff did fear for their job. But we didn’t think it was a good idea to ban the photos.”

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