SCOTLAND, UNITED KINGDOM – In April 2012, nine year old Martha Payne started a school writing project with the help of her father, David. Using the pseudonym, “VEG” (Veritas Ex Gustu – truth by tasting) Martha started blogging about the lunches she was being served at her primary school on neverseconds.blogspot.com.
Within days it went viral. She had a million viewers within a few weeks. Martha’s blog got the attention of TV celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver and she has featured in Time, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and a number of food blogs.
Her blog also attracted attention of Argyll and Bute Council, her attempted to shut her down by forbidding her to take a camera to school. Fortunately the wave of support she received worldwide, forced authorities to rethink their decision.
Martha has not only managed to change the food in her own district, but has children around the world excited about their lunches too. She has posted images of school lunches from Germany, Japan, Finland, Illinois, Spain, Washington State and a school in Atlanta that keeps kosher.
When paid £50 from a magazine that reprinted some of her photos, Martha donated the money to Mary’s Meals, a charity that funds school food in Africa and encouraged her readers to also support the charity. On the JustGiving.com/NeverSeconds site Martha set a goal to raise £7000; the cost of building a kitchen in Malawi. The readers of NeverSeconds have donated £145,362 and in October 2012, Martha travelled to Malawi to see the new kitchen at the school in Lirangwe.
Her last entry on 4 Feburary, 2014 shows 10 million hits on the site.