College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

IAA Internship Stories: Shelby Atkins

Edwin Sanchez
Image Credit: 
Larisa Cioaca

Shelby Atkins grew up on a farm in Calvert County, Maryland, and came to the Institute of Applied Agriculture to major in Agricultural Business Management. After completing her freshman year, Atkins sought a summer internship to gain experience and to find out if agriculture is the career that will fulfill her dreams. 

In searching for an internship site, Atkins hoped to find an equine farm near her home. With no luck and very disappointed, she decided to give vegetable farming a try. The vegetable farm Atkins chose was Dicot Farm, located in Waldorf, Md. Dicot Farm is a for-profit organic vegetable farm run by co-owners Erik and Meghan. 

During her internship, Atkins harvested different kinds of fruits and vegetables; including tomatoes, melons, and kale. Furthermore, she was in charge of watering, making potting mix, and farmers market sales. In addition to that, Atkins wrote a marketing plan for the organic farm. She learned a lot about running a business, marketing, and working with people with different interests.

One of Atkins’s favorites parts of the job was getting free, organically-grown vegetables to take home. Atkins had the chance to sample fresh okra, bok choy, and duck eggs. And, she had to opportunity to travel with Dicot Farms to a large farmers market in Washington, D.C.

During her internship, Atkins discovered that vegetable farming is not what she wants to do for a living. She says, “Getting the opportunity to learn about organic growing practices and vegetable production was a great experience, but I think I will stick to horses.” Although she values the lessons she learned about organic practices, running a business, marketing, and working with people, Atkins has been around horses her entire life and is dedicated to what she loves.


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