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Prices Too High, We Won’t Buy: The 1969 Long Island Meat Boycott

As communities today struggle to recover from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, let’s take a look at how one community on Long Island faced a financial crisis during the 1969 recession…

During the summer of 1969, the cost of living was soaring and meat was increasingly more expensive. Middle-class consuming families were choosing to buy cheaper cuts; while, many working-class families as well as senior citizens on fixed incomes were finding it impossible to afford even the cheapest cuts of meat like hamburger. Unwittingly following in the footsteps of thousands of housewives before them, two women in Levittown kicked off a consumer protest that gained national attention. 

 

Despite no prior political involvement and having just given birth to her second child that summer, Mickey DeLorenzo, a local housewife, and her sister, who recently moved to Nassau County, decided to call a boycott of meat. Placing an invitation in the local newspaper, Mickey called on families from her close-knit community to gather at the Levittown Hall, a community space in the town center. The room filled with families angered over the high cost of living. 

With no shopping centers in Levittown, 100 housewives gathered to picket the grocery store at the Hempstead Turnpike shopping center on August 12, 1969. They called themselves For Lower Prices (FLP). Handing out menus for “tasty fish dishes,” the women chanted, “Let the meat rot!,” and “Prices too high, we won’t buy!” 

 

Making this their first stop, the women split up and targeted three supermarkets in the shopping center (L.I. Housewives Stage Boycott on Meat Sales,” New York Times, Aug. 12, 1969.) With her two children including her newborn son in tow, Mickey organized pickets around Nassau County. The pickets enraged the supermarkets and FLP members were threatened with arrest on more than one occasion. By October, DeLorenzo estimated that 1,500 housewives on Long Island were actively participating in the boycott activities (“An Angry Wife Warns of High Meat Costs,” Chicago Tribune, Oct. 8, 1969.)

 

The boycott generated significant media coverage beyond the greater New York area. Within a month of organizing their first picket, FLP members were putting together FLP Kits, starter packets to help other communities organize a meat boycott. With no national coordination, meat boycotts sprung up in Virginia, Connecticut, Colorado, and Florida (“Meat Boycott Leader Criticizes House Panel,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 8, 1969.)  

I am professor at the University of Illinois writing a book on the history of housewives and consumer activism. If you are one of these women or know women who participated in the 1969 meat boycott or any other meat boycott between 1966-1973, I would very much like to interview you. I will be conducting interviews over the phone and in person throughout the coming months. I can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at 312-413-0166.

 

—Prof. Emily E. LB. Twarog, University of Illinois


News

The Farmingdale Public Library was recently the site of the rumbling feet and powerful roars of the mighty dinosaur, come to life in modern times... at least in the form of some dedicated actors playing the parts to the hilt for the sake of education and fun. 

 

The Wildlife Theater, a part of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s educational department, was on-hand at the library on April 17, bringing its unique form of lighthearted children’s entertainment containing vital information about the world in which kids live, and the fascinating creatures that share it with them.

 

The Wildlife Theater works out of the Central Park Zoo, traveling around the five boroughs of New York—as well as Long Island—to put on shows at venues such as elementary schools, libraries, and hospitals; they specialize in taking their conservation message along with them in the form of plays about animals and the environment, according to the Conservation Society’s Michael Birch.

Marc Anthony Bynum was able to make a prize-winning dish out of the ingredients in the “mystery basket”—matzah, salty peanuts, dried strawberries, and cocoa nibs—to win the Food Network's TV show Chopped in June 2010. Two months later, he returned to the show for a second time, where he excelled through the appetizer round with a combination of dandelion greens, Greek yogurt, liverwurst and catfish, which allowed him to move forward through the entrée and dessert rounds to win. But it was the combination of geoduck, Buddha’s hand, black radishes and waffle cones that did him in when he appeared in the grand finale of the Chopped Tournament in September that year. 


Sports

The Over the Hill Gang softball league opened its 39th season Friday, April 11 with six games at Allen Park.  Bar-Boy began with an impressive 25-8 win over Bethpage Pharmacy. After scoring one run in the first, BB exploded for 7 runs in the 2nd inning and never looked back.    For the night, Ken Kuzman went 4 for 6 with 2 RBIs, Steve Kirk went 4 for 5 with 2 RBIs, Frank Badalmenti went 5 for 6 with 5 RBIs and a homer, pitcher John Czarnecki went 5 for 6 with 5 RBIs, rookie Jason Cinnelli went 3 for 6 with a homer and manager Ken Kohlmann went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs. 

Farmingdale athletes Franklin Diaz, Billy Allen, and Chris Daily put on award winning performances during the 37th annual All Round Foods 10 kilometer run for ASPIRE, through the streets of Plainview and Old Bethpage on April 5. 

 

Diaz crossed the finish line at the H.B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview in 34 minutes and 34 seconds, for sixth place overall and first in the 30-34 age group. Allen finished in seventh place overall with a time of 35 minutes and 26 seconds, to earn the third place trophy in the 20-24 age group. Daily scored in 38 minutes, 45 seconds, in 17th place overall and first in the 50-54 age group, in what was one of the most competitive races on Long Island in the past year. 


Calendar

Boating Class - April 22

Board of Fire Commissioners - April 24

Earth Day Fair - April 27 

Tuesday, April 22

Power Squadrons Boating Class

On April 22, Captree Power Squadron will be holding boating classes at Howitt Middle School, located at 70 Van Cott Ave.,from 7-9 p.m. Upon course completion students will be issued certificates that are accepted by local police, bay constables, and the U.S. Coast Guard. All classes take place five successive weeks on same day as start. There is a fee of $50 to attend, which will cover the cost of books and materials. For more information call Gene at 631-242-6117 or Charlie at 631-957-8604.

 

Planning Board

The next meeting of the Farmingdale Planning Board will be held on April 22, at 7 p.m.

 

FBHS 50th Anniversary Dinner

On April 22, the Farmingdale Bethpage Historical Society will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a special Founders’ Day Dinner at 6:30pm at the Blue Lagoon Restaurant, located off of Rt. 109 in West Babylon. 

 Thursday, April 24

Board of Fire Commissioners

The next meeting of the Farmingdale Board of Fire Commissioners will be held on April 24, at 8 p.m., inside Village Hall, located at 361 Main St.

Saturday, April 26

Getting By With A Little Help From Our Friends

On April 26, YES Community Counseling Center invite you to attend a special concert/fundraiser at the Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale. 

 

The concert, “Getting By with a Little Help from Our Friends,” begins at 3:30 p.m. and will feature the dynamic music of Half Step, The Therapy Band, and Something In Between.  

 

Tickets are $40 per person and includes a dinner buffet. Proceeds raised will go to help ensure the YES Community Counseling Center has resources to respond to anyone requesting their help.

Sunday, April 27

Earth Day Fair

On April 27, the Village of Farmingdale will be host Earth Day festivities at noon on the Village Green located along Main Street downtown. 

Baseball Parade

 

On April 27, the Village of Farmingdale will hold its annual Baseball Parade. Beginning at 2 p.m., participants will gather outside the Howitt Middle School, located at 70 Van Cott Ave., before marching down Main St. to Allen Park, at 45 Motor Ave. 

High School Go Green Club

 

On April 27, Farmingdale High School’s Go Green Club will celebrate Earth Day from noon-4 p.m. on the village green along Main St. in Farmingdale.

St. Kilian RC Church Blood Drive

 

St. Kilian Church along with the New York Blood Center will be coordinating a blood drive on April 27 from 8:15 a.m.- 2:15 p.m. The drive will take place in the St. Kilian Auditorium on Cherry Street in Farmingdale. For information on St. Kilian’s Blood Drive or to schedule an appointment, please contact Ray Redina at 516-523-7130 or Chris Hillier at 631-445-9026. Your donation will help to save up to three lives. Our community hospitals need your aid. Bring your ID with signature or photo. Eligibility criteria include you to be a minimum weight of 110 lbs., age 16-75 (16-olds need to have parental permission, 76-year olds and over need a doctor’s note), eat well, drink fluids and no tattoos for the past 12 months. For questions concerning medical eligibility call the New York Blood Center at 1-800-688-0900. 

Monday, April 28

Board of Trustees Worksession

The next public work session of the Village of Farmingdale Board of Trustees will be held at 7 p.m., on April 28, inside Village Hall, located at 361 Main St. in Farmingdale. 

Tuesday, April 29

Farmingdale PTA Council

The next meeting of the Farmingdale School District PTA Council will be held at 7 p.m., on April 29, inside Howitt Middle School, located at 70 Van Cott Ave. in Farmingdale. 

Thursday, May 1

Chamber of Commerce Meeting

The next general meeting of the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce will be held on May 1, at noon, at Dominican Restaurant 4, located at 305 Main St. in Farmingdale. 

Farmingdale High School Honor Society

 

On May 1, Farmingdale High School’s technology honor society will hold its annual induction ceremony at the American Airpower Museum, located at 1230 New Highway in Farmingdale. 

Saturday, May 3

Mother’s Day Family Fair

On May 3, Friends of the Farmingdale Public Library will be holding a “giant” Mother’s Day Family Fair, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Come buy a present for Mom or find just the thing you wanted for yourself or a family member. The Farmingdale Library will also be holding a book sale in conjunction with the fair. For more information, call 516-454-6813 or 516-244-0829.



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