This Friggin' Guy: With Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's!

Welcome, miscreants! Here we are with an interview with an amazing, accomplished man who neither lives in Portland nor is a musician. But here at HOT TRASH: Portland! Headquarters, we know that there is something happening tomorrow that is very important to the local artists community: the democratic caucus. So many of us are disenfranchised by the political process, and while HOT TRASH: Portland! doesn't necessarily want to get political, Victoria (me, the person writing right now) believes that we have become apathetic towards politics and then we play Monday morning quarterback on political decisions that we don't like while we sat on our butts doing nothing to make sure those things didn't happen. Also, I like Bernie Sanders, I think if we can get him into office, it will be a first real turning point toward the income, racial and social equality that we need in order to thrive as a country.  So with that said, let's dig in to this awesome thing.

You probably know him best from the pints of deliciousness you buy at 7-11 to rabidly consume while crying the saddest tears after a harsh breakup or to eat with a glazed 30 yard stare after you’ve gotten blazed out of your gourd on a Saturday afternoon - yes, he’s that Jerry, the Jerry of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Though they are no longer independently owned (the company is a subsidiary of the multinational conglomerate Unilever), the company’s founders still live and work right here in New England, with headquarters and US factories in Vermont.  Known for social and environmental responsibility, Ben & Jerry’s has protested arctic oil drilling, refuses to use rGBH and GMO ingredients in their ice cream and regularly participates in local and national issues. Jerry Greenfield is half of the beloved Ben & Jerry’s name, but on this frosty morning, March 5th, 2016, the day before the democratic caucus in Maine, he is Jerry Greenfield, Endorser of Bernie Sanders and all around good sport. And a hugger. He’s basically the best.

Jerry and Sanders-endorsing-partner-in-crime Jon Fishman were at Monument Square this morning, heading up a rather, if we’re being honest, poorly-attended Bernie rally. It’s cold, it’s early, and it was a bit of a last minute thing. The pair are jetting around the state today rallying for the senator’s campaign in anticipation of the democratic caucus tomorrow until they end up in Orono tonight for a rally and party at The Roost near the University of Maine campus.

Jerry generously agreed to sit down with me and talk about his reasons for actively campaigning for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. But since this is HOT TRASH and we are nothing if not silly and lowbrow, we asked the kind gentleman to participate in our irregularly-scheduled column, “This Friggin Guy!” and have some fun with us. So, without further ado, I give you:

This Friggin Guy! With Jerry Greenfield!   

What is the best kind of sandwich?

I like a pulled pork sandwich. I'm a huge barbecue fan, and a pulled pork, if it's not too sweet, I lean more towards the vinegary, mustardy side of barbecue.

Who would win in a fight? The Chubby Hubby or the Chunky Monkey?

I think the Chubby Hubby would win in a fight, the Chubby Hubby packs a bigger punch, it's got the chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels which I think really packs the punch, brings the power.

Why is there something and not nothing?

I think it's because of love. The love that is the center of all of us and everything creates the something.

(ed. note: I adore that answer so hard)

Ben & Jerry's has been founded on principles of community involvement and corporate responsibility, so how does endorsing senator Sanders fit with your company's goals after the election and how do you see your company taking action against income inequality?

Well, so just to be clear, Ben & Jerry's as a company doesn't endorse candidates. But Ben [Cohen, cofounder of Ben & Jerry's] and I are both very strong supporters of Bernie Sanders, and I do think the same values that the company is based on are what are espoused by Bernie. The idea of inclusiveness, that we're all in this together - specifically justice and fairness and equality. The same way that Ben & Jerry's has been working for years for equality in terms of voting rights, marriage rights. I think Bernie is working for people who don't have a voice, people who are disenfranchised, working families students, veterans, senior citizens, and it makes perfect sense for Ben and I to be aligned with Bernie.

You've taken your personal time to come out to Maine - are you visiting other states?

Ben and I area all in for Bernie, Ben would actually be here except he's traveling. Ben and I have been in Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachussetts, Maine and Vermont, Ben was in South Carolina and Chicago, so we're doing whatever we can to campaign for Bernie because we've seen firsthand how he has been tireless in working for ordinary Americans. We've been his constituents for 30 years in Vermont and this is actually the first time we've campaigned for a presidential candidate, we're that excited for Bernie.

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about Senator Sanders personally, outside of the campaign?

I don't know if it's so personal, but you know one thing I've learned is that Bernie has never changed over 30 years from the time he first was elected mayor of Burlington and then being in congress and now being senator and as candidate for president, he is as genuine and authentic as he's always been. He is driven by strong personal values - he doesn't read the latest poll and decide what position he's supposed to take, he's unwavering.

Many, many thanks to you, Jerry Greenfield, for taking the time to sit down and share your narrative with little ol' me and the music and arts community here in Portland.