Nine-year-old food blogger Martha Payne got some help from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and the Twittersphere after her school told her to stop posting photos of her cafeteria lunches.
The young citizen journalist, from Argyll, Scotland, has been writing reviews and posting pictures of her less-than-appetizing cafeteria lunches since April. The blog, NeverSeconds, has gained a wide following from Internet users around the world. Intense pressure from her blog followers eventually convinced her school to start introducing healthier meals. Payne continued writing about her lunches, and even gave a few glowing reviews to some of the newer meals.
But all that came to a sudden end - temporarily - when The Daily News, a Scottish newspaper, ran a story about Payne's blog, entitled "Time to fire the dinner ladies." This alarmed the cafeteria staff at Payne's school, and yesterday school council administrators told her to stop bringing her cameraphone to snap photos.
Later that day, Payne wrote what she thought was her last blog post about cafeteria lunches, entitled "Goodbye." It said: "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.”
Soon after, the Internet took notice. Jamie Oliver led the charge, tweeting "Stay strong Martha, RT this to show your support #neverseconds bit.ly/LXzJcI Jx". Social media support exploded, and by this morning, there were over 1000 comments of support on her "Goodbye" post.
Today, in response to pressure from her followers, and thanks in large part to Oliver's tweet, the school council decided to drop the ban. Payne can now blog and post to her heart's content.
The increased publicity from the ban has enabled Payne to smash a fundraising target she had set for Mary's Meals, a charity that provides food to children around the world.