A month and a half ago, a nine-year-old schoolgirl called Martha began blogging photos of the food from her elementary school cafeteria. After just ten days the blog, entitled NeverSeconds, had already received 105,000 views, thanks largely to an endorsement from British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. It went on to amass over two million hits and also raised nearly £2,000 (around $3,110) for food charity Mary's Meals.
Now, the girl's local council has stepped in and put an end to her food critique. Martha updated her blog yesterday evening with a message titled "goodbye.'" She writes that "I got taken out of class by my head teacher [principal] and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners." Martha also lamented that "I don’t think I will be able to finish raising enough money for a kitchen for Mary’s Meals either."
Her father later clarified that it was not the principal's decision to ban the blog and that Martha's school had been "brilliant and supportive from the beginning." He says he contacted his local council who confirmed it was their decision to ban Martha's photography. A confusing decision perhaps, but if you take a look at the standard of some of the cuisine featured on the blog, the council's reasons for not wanting it beamed around the world might become clearer.
Update: The council responsible for the decision has issued a full statement regarding NeverSeconds. Here's an excerpt:
"Argyll and Bute Council wholly refutes the unwarranted attacks on its schools catering service which culminated in national press headlines which have led catering staff to fear for their jobs. The Council has directly avoided any criticism of anyone involved in the ‘never seconds’ blog for obvious reasons despite a strongly held view that the information presented in it misrepresented the options and choices available to pupils however this escalation means we had to act to protect staff from the distress and harm it was causing. In particular, the photographic images uploaded appear to only represent a fraction of the choices available to pupils, so a decision has been made by the council to stop photos being taken in the school canteen."
Update 2: Ah, the power of the internet. Argyll and Bute Council has reversed its decision — Martha can continue her blog!