Conscious Alliance: Art That Feeds the Community

An iconic community of bands, brands, artists, and fans come together for Conscious Alliance to awaken compassion and end hunger nationwide.

Conscious Alliance collecting donations
Photo courtesy of Conscious Alliance.

When brothers Justin and Evan Baker were in college, they saw the potential for turning a crowd of music fans into a powerful force of community builders. They were avid concert goers with an idea: what if each of these fans showed up with something to give?

“They had an idea of engaging young people in the fight against hunger by putting an opportunity for them to give right in the middle of a good time,” says Justin Levy, executive director of Conscious Alliance. “The idea was, hey, let’s create a limited-edition concert poster and ask people to bring food donations to get one.”

They set up a food drive at the Fillmore during a multiday run of shows by The String Cheese Incident in 2002. “We collected 4,000 pounds of food that first night,” says Levy. “The next food drive brought in 8,000 pounds, and we realized we had something going.”

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Since then, Conscious Alliance has worked with over a hundred touring musicians—everyone from Widespread Panic to Dave Matthews to STS9—to do Art That Feeds food drives at major concerts and festivals across the U.S. As the efforts have expanded, the mission to have local impact has remained. “As we toured with these bands, we met all these people who I like to call ‘hunger heroes’— folks that are out in their community day in and out fighting hunger. Our food drives support these local heroes.”

Conscious Alliance distributes healthy food to communities across the country by partnering with schools, pantries, and other organizations working in the hearts of neighborhoods, says Levy.

Conscious Alliance also works with partners from the music, art, and food industries to coordinate large-scale food drives and donations. On the bands, festivals, and artists side, Conscious Alliance partners with poster artists who design exclusive artwork for a specific show or tour. When fans bring their cans (or other food donations), they get to snag one of the exclusive posters. This summer in Colorado, look for the Conscious Alliance food drives at shows like Mersiv, Michael Franti, Goose, and more. Today, with over 20 years of logistics experience behind them, the Alliance team has taken what they learned from nationwide concert tours and applied that to brand partnerships with the likes of Hormel Foods and Justin’s—with more in the works, says Levy. “We’re always bringing on new generations of music fans who are willing to join our mission to awaken compassion and end hunger.”