Nearly two decades ago, Conscious Alliance, a national hunger relief organization that works with musicians, artists and food makers on a mission to end hunger nationwide, was started with the question, “How do we engage young people in the fight against hunger?”
The group's executive director, Justin Levy, says the answer was partnering with bands. The first event was an Art That Feeds food drive at a String Cheese Incident concert at Fillmore Auditorium in 2002, offering a poster in exchange for concert-goers bringing food to the concert. People brought 4,000 pounds of food to the show. To the next one, they brought 8,000 pounds.
“We realized we had something going,” Levy says. “So now we work with these poster artists who are nationally renowned. They donate the image and they donate their services, and we work with leading screen printers around the country. Concert-goers will wait in line at Red Rocks and venues beyond to make sure that they're collecting the newest Art That Feeds poster.”
Levy says Conscious Alliance took its network national by touring with bands and forming partnerships with companies like Boulder-based Justin’s organic peanut butter.
“We work with about sixty leading natural-food companies to move their food out of their warehouses, into the hands of kids and families who need it most,” Levy says. “We've been with them, kind of piecing it together, and as we grow, the need has tremendously increased. Last year, we found ourselves having an opportunity to open our national distribution center to help meet that growing need of people needing food.”
Conscious Alliance recently opened that new 10,593-square-foot distribution center in Broomfield, and will distribute millions of meals a year, combating food insecurity both locally and nationally. Levy says the organization went from delivering 1.1 million meals in 2019, which was its record year, to 2.6 million meals last year during the pandemic.
To celebrate the opening of the new distribution center, the organization will hold a private concert on Thursday, June 17, with Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd, Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee and Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic.
“We team up with what I call 'hunger heroes' in communities across the country,” Levy says. “Folks who are working day in and day out to feed their communities. We've taken all the touring and logistics experience that we have from going on the road with bands and turned that into moving truckloads of food to those communities across the country.”
Conscious Alliance just started its Art That Feeds events again with The Revivalists’ two recent Red Rocks concerts and will continue in the coming months with shows by Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic, String Cheese Incident, STS9 and others. Levy says he’s excited that the organization is hosting events again.
“We've truly missed our community,” Levy says. “We've stayed busy and we've stayed active for the last year and a half. We've been feeding folks in the music industry who found themselves in need of support, which was a really amazing and tough position for us to be in, to be feeding the folks who helped to build the organization, truly.”
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