Morganton, NC — Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and Fonta Flora Brewery invite the public to a fireside chat and historical discussion with award-winning author Valaida Fullwood at the Fonta Flora Brewery’s Whippoorwill Farm (6751 NC-126, Nebo, N.C.) on Friday, Nov. 13, from 6-7:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to arrive early, as speaker introductions will begin promptly at 6:15 p.m.

With deep ties to both the Fonta Flora community and to Whippoorwill Dairy Farm, Valaida Fullwood will share compelling personal narratives and historical accounts of her family’s experiences in the area. Born and raised in Burke County, Fullwood describes herself as a “writer, thinker, listener, speaker, idea-whisperer, traveler, mad word-geek, absolute scrabble-freak, drinker of life, damn good friend, ridiculous foodie, imaginative dreamer, okra-lover, Southerner with hillbilly roots and far-stretched global sights, and a bear hunter’s daughter.” In 2019, Our State Magazine featured her in an article about the history of the Fonta Flora community.

This event is part of a new initiative by Foothills Conservancy and its Community Engagement Committee that is designed to connect more communities within the conservancy’s eight-county service area.

“As we have long been inspired by the original Fonta Flora community, we are thrilled to have such a thoughtful and thorough expert like Valaida Fullwood speak on the history of ‘Appalachian Atlantis,’” said Todd Boera, co-owner and head brewer of Fonta Flora Brewery. “Her knowledge on this topic is sure to breathe new life into a fascinating piece of regional Appalachian history.”

Brit Josa, Fonta Flora Brewery’s vibe coordinator, added: “We are glad to have Valaida here to share her unique family stories. These fields and structures hold so much history, and we believe that through learning and listening, our community can benefit and further appreciate this region and its people.”

Fullwood is the award-winning author of “Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists,” which reframes portraits of philanthropy through a collection of stories and photography. Her book was named one of the 10 Best Black Books of 2011 and received the prestigious Terry McAdam Book Award as 2012’s “most inspirational and useful new book for the nonprofit sector.” Her book will be available for purchase at the event.

A graduate of Freedom High School, Fullwood currently resides in Charlotte, though her parents, Allen and Ann Fullwood, still reside in Morganton. In 2014, Allen joined Foothills Conservancy’s board of directors and has since served two three-year terms.

A celebrated philanthropist, Fullwood was recognized as a Woman of Achievement and 2020 Community Champion by YWCA Central Carolina in Charlotte, and she also earned the 2020 Trailblazer Award from the Association of Black Foundation Executives. One of her works, “The Soul of Philanthropy,” a multimedia museum exhibit, has been touring cities across the country. Her writing and other projects can be found on

This event is free to attend, but registration is required as attendance is limited to 50. Links to access the registration portal are located at, on the Facebook event page (, on Fonta Flora Brewery’s Facebook page ( or directly at

“We are thankful for thoughtful partners like Fonta Flora Brewery who want to do more to engage our community in meaningful conversations about the unique and fascinating history in our region,” said Meg Nealon, Foothills Conservancy board member and chair of its Community Engagement Committee.

In accordance with CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19, attendees should bring their own chairs or blankets and snacks. The event is free, and beverages will be available for purchase at the brewery. No outside beer is permitted. On site, The Little Guatemala coffee cart will be selling hot beverages, and the Singlewyde food truck will be serving its regular menu.

In the case of inclement weather, registered guests will be notified if any changes occur to the date, time or place of the event.