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How The Fair Trade And Ethical Shopping Movement Is Evolving In St. Louis

From left, Julio Zegarra-Ballon and Alyson Miller joined Friday's show.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

With just two weekends left before Christmas, the holiday shopping frenzy is in full swing. And like most Americans, gift buyers in the St. Louis region have countless options to choose from, both online and locally. But more and more people are choosing to put their discretionary dollars toward meaningful products — consumer goods that support a good cause.

Julio Zegarra-Ballon, owner of Zee Bee Market, has been pleasantly surprised to see the growing appetite locally for fair trade and ethical shopping since opening his first brick-and-mortar outpost in the South Grand commercial district in 2014. The fair trade scene in St. Louis is still a relatively small one, and industry professionals including Alyson Miller, executive director of Partners for Just Trade, see plenty of room for more consumer education.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with both Miller and Zegarra-Ballon. The conversation also included comments from Patrice Estes, director of the mostly volunteer-run Plowsharing Crafts, which is headquartered in the Delmar Loop.

Leading up to the show, St. Louis on the Air also spoke with St. Louis resident Daphne Benzaquen, who founded her line of Peruvian, handcrafted accessories after a pivotal trip home to Peru to visit her family. While there, she connected with Peruvian manufacturers. Listen to hear what she had to say about the response to her products in the St. Louis region:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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