By Kristie Snyder,
Bees perform a kind of alchemy, transforming pollen and nectar into that sweet, sticky substance that got Pooh Bear into so much trouble back in Rabbit's hole. Lesli Sagan, owner of Avital's Apiaries, is a bit of an alchemist herself, using beeswax, honey, and propolis to create natural bodycare products.
Lesli's balms, lotion bars, soaps, and deodorant are made in her home workshop in Cayuga Heights in a converted downstairs apartment, using all-natural, often organic, and often locally sourced ingredients. Some ingredients are very locally sourced, coming right from her beehives. She maintains two in her backyard, and around 10 to 20 more in two locations outside of town.
Lesli's love affair with bees — and she does love them — began about ten years ago, when she started keeping them as an antidote to long days in front of a computer as a systems administrator at Ithaca College. "Bees are essentially wild — you give them good digs and they stay," she explained. "Bees are a beautiful little society. They're the perfect feminist occupation — they're all women!"
By Cassandra Leveille,
Kash Iraggi-Wiggins, the owner of Balance Aromatherapy, conveys a sustained, intimate knowledge of her products — where they are sourced and what blends of oils and herbs constitute the final product.
Kash started making aromatherapy products twenty-seven years ago, when her daughter, Phoenix, was born. Balance Aromatherapy sprang from her concern about the potential harmful effects of using conventional skin-care products on her daughter's skin, as the cosmetics industry is not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.
"A lot of people are conscientious of what they put in their bodies, but not what they put on their bodies," Kash said.
By Alexa Besgen,
Before he was examining the toxicity of New York state, Walter Hang was trying to cure cancer. Spending hours in labs testing chemicals on mice and giving children doses of chemotherapy wasn’t as rewarding as he thought it would be, and he soon realized he wasn’t helping as much as he wanted to. Hang, who is the founder of Ithaca’s Toxics Targeting, says he knew exactly what he wanted to do after stumbling upon a cancer map in a library. His missio...