College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Internship Stories: Lillian Kahl

Becky Remsberg
Image Credit: 
Meredith Epstein

Career Direction Blooms at Terp Farm Internship

Who spent their summer growing produce for thousands of college students? Lillian Kahl, that’s who. Kahl studies sustainable agriculture at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA), and this summer she spent three months interning at the University of Maryland’s Terp Farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Terp Farm is the result of a partnership between the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UMD’s Dining Services, and the UMD Office of Sustainability. The farm itself is a five-acre plot of land that grows produce for the university’s dining halls, and provides internship opportunities for students like Kahl.

Kahl’s decision to choose Terp Farm as her internship mainly stemmed from its education-based environment. Despite an interest in agriculture, Kahl never had the chance to do any farming; Terp Farm allowed her to start work with no prior experience.

“There’s only so much you can get from sitting in a classroom,” says Kahl, who knew that being in the field would be a great learning experience. And she was right. Fortunate enough to reside on the farm, Kahl grew to love the quality of life that comes with farming. Most of all, she enjoyed being able to work in the small cut flower production that started this year.

“Working with flowers made me realize that’s what I want to do,” says Kahl, who admits that this experience shaped her career goals and led her into the cut flower industry.

Her IAA advisor, Meredith Epstein, was incredibly impressed by Kahl’s performance. “Lilli knocked it out of the park this summer at Terp Farm. From tractor operations to harvesting, she mastered the farm's systems and took on leadership responsibilities. It was amazing to watch her excitement literally grow as she took on the farm's new cut flower initiative.”

Despite her summer internship having come to a close, Kahl will remain working and living on Terp Farm as something of a ‘guinea pig’ for the farm’s year-long apprenticeship program, and is very excited to continue to build on her agricultural skills and experience.

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