Martha Payne, this cute 9-year-old from Scotland, started a unique revolution at the Lochgilphead Primary School, in Argyll. Tired of getting horrifying school dinners, she decided to blog about them and show what sort of food is being served there.
After a few posts, Martha’s blog was spotted by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who gave the little girl thumbs up for her attitude. The school had to change the menu and things were improving. Yesterday, however, she was censored in school.
This rather authoritarian move made her even more famous than she already was. Today, after her blog reached audiences all over the world and people protested, the censorship was lifted and she happily posted that she’ll be back on Monday with new photos.
Before all this happened, back on June 5th, Martha gave Garatujas Fantásticas the following e-mail interview. Her father, Dave Payne, kindly typed the answers for us during breakfast.
You can see here that Martha was already under pressure while blogging about her school dinners. Her posts were blocked at school and the teachers weren’t allowed to discuss them. In spite of that, she argues: “I think more children should blog”.
Why did you decide to take photos of your dinners and blog about them?
I did a writing project at school and wanted to write more so I asked dad. He suggested a daily blog and I chose to write about school dinners which I didn’t like. I got permission from school to take a camera.
When did you start blogging?
I started in early may but it took a while for me to get my camera working.
How did the school respond to this?
The teachers are very nice but I think they are not allowed to discuss it. The blog is blocked at school. I think the kitchens are separate to the teachers.
Were you asked to stop?
Because I had permission it was ok. I was asked to stop but then immediately told I could do it again. There is not much spoken about it at school.
What do your friends think about it?
My friends are the same and I like that.
Did they change the menu after you started blogging?
The menus are the same but we get more. We are now allowed unlimited vegetable, unlimited salad, unlimited bread and fruit as well as dessert. I do get to eat more but I am not sure it is healthier.
What was the worst and best thing you had at school?
The worst was the plastic cheese on my burger and the best part are the soups which are very nice.
How many meals do you have per day?
I have just dinner (lunch) everyday.
How do you manage to take pictures? Could you please describe how you get the food, how is the queue, who sits around you at the table…
I order my food after register at 9am and then I get given a wrist band so I can’t change my mind. The order we go to lunch changes everyday and you go with your year. We queue then get served and I can sit with my friends. I take the photo as soon as I sit down before I eat anything.
And do you take notes there?
I try and count my mouthfuls but it is hard when the soup is hot and I am chatting.
Do you believe you can help more children and schools with this project? Or maybe encourage other people to do the same?
I think more children should blog. My dad didn’t believe me about lunch until he saw the photo. I think it was embarrassing for the adults what I had to eat, I put pictures of other children’s lunches from around the world on my blog to try and help.
Do you have to pay for food in your school?
My parents pay £2 per day to the council. I have a card so I don’t carry money everyday.
In your opinion, what would be a perfect meal?
I really like to have soup, chicken curry and rice then fruit.
And what was the school’s main mistake?
They didn’t give us enough food.