Adorable Scottish School Lunch Activist Silenced By Government Sourpusses

Illustration for article titled Adorable Scottish School Lunch Activist Silenced By Government Sourpusses

Martha Payne, a 9-year-old who attends Lochgilphead Primary school in western Scotland, was dismayed by the lack of healthy options available in her school's cafeteria. So she started a blog called Never Seconds, where she posted photos of each day's congealed lasagna wedge along with a short review and miscellaneous adorable commentary (sample: "I went for chicken fajita. I'd really like to know where the chicken comes from so I am going to write to the lady in charge to ask. I know it comes from a hen but I'd like to know where the hen lived"). Martha's blog quickly went viral and was instrumental in securing "unlimited salads, fruit and bread" for all school children in the district. She was also working on using her blog to raise funds for Mary's Meals, a non-profit that funds school food in Africa. But this week The Man shut it all down.


You can read a thorough play-by-play of the whole thing over at Wired, but the gist of it is this. Yesterday Martha brought her camera to school expecting to photograph her meal as usual, and was pulled out of class by administrators. She posted on her blog:

This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.

I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I'll miss seeing the dinners you send me too. I don't think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary's Meals either.


Then, in a satisfying display of internet street-justice, people went fucking nuts. The jerks on the Argyll and Bute Council released a dickish statement about how Martha was victimizing the poor cafeteria employees (she wasn't); Martha's supporters responded with a letter-writing campaign and more than $35,000 in "rage-donations" to Mary's Meals; and, eventually, the butt-hurt council capitulated and put Martha back in business.

So yay, internet! Sometimes we can have nice things.

Photo Credit: joebelanger / Stockfresh.

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My people!* Good job, Martha. Keep it up. It's lovely to see an internet attack squad aimed at something positive for once (the council probably wish that they'd never even tried to shut the kid down now).

(I remember Scottish school lunches. It's notable that I ate them for only about 6 months, and I still remember them clearly - they were that horrible.)

* It's so rare to see Scots mentioned in American media that I get kind of excited when I see it, especially if it's not just about the accents. Most Americans seem to think of the UK as "the south of England plus those other bits where they talk funny", though hey, at least the Scots aren't as ignored as the Welsh.