Never Say Never (Seconds)

Tomiko Peirano

Tomiko Peirano › Tomiko has amassed decades of experience in the food industry, from her family's restaurant in Oregon's ...

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Young Martha Payne and her six-week-old blog NeverSeconds have had quite the rollercoaster ride of real food fame these past few weeks.

First, the Scottish schoolgirl became international news when celebrity chef Jamie Oliver (a huge supporter of school lunch reform and condemner of the now infamous Pink Slime) tweeted out a ‘bravo’ to Martha for carefully documenting and reporting on her pretty lackluster school meals.

Then, her (presumably embarassed) school banned her from taking any more photographs.

Now, after much public outcry, Martha is not only allowed to take pictures of the school meals, she has been enlisted to help Chef Nick Nairn redesign the school’s meal plan.

Is this all just a big public relations move to save face for the school officials? Probably.

Does it really matter when the quality (or lack thereof) of public school meals are brought under much-deserved scrutiny? I don’t think so.

In her blog posts, Martha repeatedly makes connections between the food she’s served and her ability to concentrate in class afterward, her energy level and her overall sense of satisfaction – something a lot of people still fail to recognize.

If anything, I hope all the media attention and PR maneuvering keep Martha’s story in the spotlight and help as many people as possible understand how the foods we consume affect our mood, health and waistline.

What’s more, Martha’s tidal wave of support not only helped reinstate her ability to click away in the cafetaria, it also raised a huge amount of money for charity:

Already, as a result of donations to Martha’s online giving page, Martha has raised enough money to build a new kitchen shelter and feed an entire school for a year at Lirangwe Primary School in Blantyre, Malawi, as part of Mary’s Meals’ Sponsor A School initiative.

In addition to the children at Lirangwe school, around 5,800 of the world’s poorest children will begin receiving Mary’s Meals because of funds raised – and that number keeps increasing as donations come in.

(from Mary’s Meals)

Not too shabby for a nine-year-old!