Electra de Peyster has been gardening in Sonoma County, California since 1994. She began work in 1980 as a volunteer in the gardens at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. From there she took classes in garden design and horticulture at UCLA, started a small residential garden design company and obtained a California Landscape Contractor’s License.
When she moved to Sonoma County, she became a lavender grower and partnered with Wally Brueske in Sonoma to build a distillery to extract plant essential oils. From 1997 through 1999, she volunteered at the Harvest for the Hungry Garden in Santa Rosa where food is grown for local food banks. It was here that her interest in saving open pollinated and heirloom vegetable seeds began. She traveled to Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa in 2002 and again in 2012 to do research on seed saving and has attended two seed research seminars sponsored by the Organic Seed Alliance in Port Townsend, Washington. In 2014, she toured the Millennium Seed Bank south of London, England. The Millennium Seed Bank is the largest seed bank in the world. As part of her work, Electra is building a photo library of vegetables and flowers to document growth cycles from seed to new seed.
Electra has been a UCCE Sonoma County Master Gardener since 2004 and teaches classes on seeds, seed saving and food gardening for the Master Gardener Library series and for community groups.
Since 2009, she has volunteered at the West County Community Seed Exchange in Sebastopol, CA. The seed exchange provides free, locally grown, open-pollinated, organic and GMO-free vegetable, flower and herb seeds to Sonoma County gardeners. She teaches classes and helps maintain the seed garden.
She is the founder of SeedStewards, a project that promotes seed saving as one part of a sustainable future.