Bryallen recently wrapped up her experiment to eat only British food. It got me thinking about how putting out the word really helped. Things have changed for me since I moved to this town almost 13 years ago. I found that it's been easier for me to eat more locally-raised and grown food as I've made my desire to do so (and my insufferable foodie tendencies) known over the years. It also doesn't hurt that there has been more options created here than when I first moved here.
Putting out the word really helps. Your friends will take note of things that will interest you and let you know about them. Being your friends, they want to help (because that's what you do when your friends express interest in something or a need for something, right?).
I wanted to get into canning. I didn't want to spend $200 on a pressure canner since I didn't know if I'd be sticking with it. I figured if someone had one, I could borrow it once or twice (and give it back of course) and see if it was something I'd enjoy and keep doing. So I put out the word. Eventually, my friend learned of this. It turns out that she had a pressure canner that she no longer used; she gave it to me with the stipulation that I make it available to anyone we knew who needed to use it.
When I first moved here, I didn't know of any farms or places where I could get eggs, etc. I didn't even know there were like-minded people here. But I got to know them thanks to the local UU Church I joined. Between my friends here, my colleagues, my acquaintences and my coworkers, I have access to eggs and honey (that friends produce/raise--oh and have I mentioned that very fresh, locally raised eggs are just little spheres of heaven? OH YES THEY ARE), fresh produce (thanks to two garden plots, a CSA, and friends and family with abundant crops) and even meat sometimes (as a friend who is part of a meat CSA has shared with me in the past).
It's also been helpful to be so vocal about it as I'll get tips on growing certain things and preserving them. And I'm happy to exchange--giving pickled or pressure canned vegetables, making a special meal, sharing recipes, sharing produce/herbs I've grown (or pestos I've made) go a long way in keeping it reciprocal.
Don't be afraid to put out the word about things you'd like or things you're interested in. Be really open about it, be patient, and keep your eyes and ears open. It won't happen overnight, but once people around you know about something you're interested in, they'll tell you when/if they learn something (or share or help if they can). Just remember to reciprocate (no one likes an ingrate) and to help when your friends put out the word about things they're interested in.