FK Insider: Avi Loren Fox, Narberth
Avi Loren Fox was only a sophomore at Temple University
when she started Narberth Greens
, an umbrella organization and incubator for action-based environmental progress, in 2007. Fox walked the streets of Narberth, a small but vibrant Main Line community built around a train station and full of delightful shops and restaurants and third- and fourth-generation residents that is as quirky as it is inviting, hanging flyers, recruiting members and businesses and building support for a neighborhood-based sustainability effort.
Fox's work had a tremendous impact on her hometown, which resulted in Narberth joining the Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, reducing Narberth households' carbon dioxide output and garnering numerous awards for the group's impact.
"We were able to translate global issues to the local level and provide tangible steps that people could take to improve the sustainability of Narberth," she says.
Now the 25 year-old is focused on her new sustainable photography business, Avi Loren Fox Photography
, and despite entering an ever-crowded space, is confident she can stand out. Working with her oldest brother and chief supporter Nikolai, Fox aims to document people's lives. She aims to photograph (and encourage) sustainable weddings and a variety of other events and occasions.
"There are a lot of photographers out there, but no one can mimic your relationship with your clients," she says.
Fox will be participating in an event that helps define her community's spirit -- the Narberth Dickens Festival
on Saturday. Local retailers and residents turn downtown Narberth into a 19th-century holiday, complete with period costumes, farm animals, and delicious treats like fresh sausage and hot toddies. It's a perfect day for shopping or strolling. Fox will be manning her Costume Photo Booth, where attendees can dress in various period garments and have their photo taken for free.
If you like A Christmas Carol or simply want to experience a typical day among the "Narbs," (as residents here sometimes describe themselves) get ready for your close-up.
"Narberth is both a wonderful place to visit and an even better place to live," says Fox.
Avi Loren Fox
Director and Photographer of Avi Loren Fox Photography; Pilates Instructor serving the Yoga Garden and private clients.
: Narberth Greens, the Mayor’s Ball of Narberth, member of the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia, raising chickens, yoga, cooking, and dancing.
One thing you wouldn't change about your neighborhood?
The seasonal parades, street festivals, block parties, and holiday caroling parties. The fact that everywhere I go I run into smiling faces. And, how much everyone who lives here loves this town.
One thing you would change?
I would have Narberth annex Thomas Wynne (recently under threat by developers), establish a land trust, weave public walking trails through the woods, and turn the estate castle into a school that teaches sustainability and the arts. Picture Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters – but on the Main Line!
Favorite dinner spot in Narberth: McSheas Restaurant and Bar
– because the bartenders and locals are awesome and they serve hot toddies!
Must-read local blog? Gabriela Vainsencher’s blog
of morning drawings. Her anecdotes change the way I frame quirky experiences and encounters in my daily life. Suddenly, you start seeing morning drawings everywhere!
Least favorite Philly cliche?
Rocky - probably because I missed the boat on watching the movie and now it just feels like a tourist attraction with the statue in front of the art museum. But, I love that Rocky makes people love Philly! So I don't mind it.
How are you helping move the region forward?
As I am building sustainable business practices into Avi Loren Fox Photography, I am also planning on building network of other wedding vendors who have similar values and ethics. My hope is that I can provide a platform for couples to source businesses that prioritize sustainability and the environment.
Narberth's best-kept secret? Sweet Mabel
, a folk art and fine craft shop. The owners Tracy and Dave hold a very well attended 1st Friday event for Narberth. Their store is filled with the most amazing creations by local artists. Keep an eye out, Avi Loren Fox Photography will have an opening for First Friday in March 2012.
Favorite local musician
: Belleville Quartet
, the Keystone Mountain Boys
, and the Dill Pickles Old Time Orchestra
Another neighborhood you'd like to live in and why?
I feel very connected to Rittenhouse Square. Sixty years ago my grandfather opened the Joseph Fox Bookshop
, and today my uncle runs it and my grandmother still works in the store. I love visiting the store, sitting in Rittenhouse Square, and stopping by La Colombe.
JOE PETRUCCI is managing editor of Flying Kite. Send feedback here.
Avi Loren Fox (credit Nikolai Fox)
Shot from Fox's wedding portfolio
Scene from last year's Dickens Festival (credit Nikolai Fox)
Another wedding photo from Fox's portfolio
All photographs courtesy of Avi Loren Fox Photography