My name is Markael Luterra.  This website is a portfolio of my designs, ideas, and knowledge, and writings.  I don’t wish to convince you to buy anything you don’t need.  Rather, I wish to offer solutions that have worked for employers, clients, and my own endeavors.  Suggested improvements are welcome.

I have never managed to fit conveniently into a category.  As a child in rural southwest Minnesota, my passions cycled between gardening, biology, botany, astronomy, weather, natural history, music, conservation, engineering, and alternative energy.

I pursued conservation biology through a BA at Carleton College (2007).  As education transitioned to career, I began to feel that I could not value the warblers, the prairie flowers, the seasonal cycles as I wished when assessing them as data points, and the engineering side of me wished to solve problems rather than simply understand them.

Following an idea for bio-solar hydrogen production, I completed a Ph.D. in Biological and Ecological Engineering at Oregon State University in 2014.  Though my work redesigning the metabolic pathways of cyanobacteria to convert sunlight to hydrogen energy was largely a success from an academic perspective, I began to question the cultural mythology that new technology will bring a shiny future of space travel and unlimited energy.  I wasn’t sure that I wished to inhabit that future, even if it were possible.  Caught in an artificial world of pipettes, sterile hoods, and centrifuges, growing re-engineered cells under fluorescent lights, I wished to return to working alongside the myriad creations of three billion years of evolution.

From 2014-2022 I worked for Wild Garden Seed, an organic vegetable and flower seed company driven by the passion and plant-breeding creativity of owners Frank and Karen Morton.  Many of the designs offered here were created to solve problems and increase efficiency in the Wild Garden operation.  Since 2023 I have worked for Adaptive Seeds and contracted for Ten Rivers Food Web in addition to working toward the development of a food hub in my hometown.

My goal in offering these designs and services and essays is to help envision and build and inhabit sustainable, soul-nourishing communities – communities where seeds, produce, equipment, and the “stuff” of life are supplied not by multinational corporations via big box stores but rather by friends, neighbors, family businesses, and cooperatives.  I welcome opportunities to collaborate with others who share this vision.