Determine whether you want to buy fresh kefir grains or powdered kefir cultures. Fresh kefir grains are the preferred choice for people who prepare kefir regularly. These grains can be continually propagated with minimal effort, so you only ever need to buy them once. Powdered cultures, consisting of dormant yeast and bacteria, are a more convenient option that can be stored easily and do not have to be monitored. However, the powdered form does expire and needs to be repurchased periodically.2
Ask friends and neighbors if they can give you some kefir grains. If you know anyone living in your area that makes kefir, he or she will almost certainly be willing to give you some kefir grains at no cost. Kefir cultures grow aggressively, so anyone maintaining one will be constantly sloughing off excess. Asking a friend to give you this excess is the easiest way to obtain fresh kefir grains.3
Check a web directory for nearby people who share kefir grains. There are several Internet directories that maintain lists of people (and their location) who have volunteered to donate or sell their kefir grains. Project Kefir and the International Kefir Grains List are 2 such directories. If someone on the list lives near you, contact them to ask about obtaining some of their kefir grains.4
Join an Internet discussion forum for kefir hobbyists. There are numerous groups and discussion forums for people to discuss kefir preparation. Many of these forums will have a page where members can list kefir grains available for donation or sale.5
Buy kefir grains from a commercial source. There are plenty of retailers that sell kefir grains, many of whom will ship the grains to your door. Health food stores may carry kefir grains, and specialty culture stores will stock several varieties. Cultures for Health, a company based in Oregon, USA, specializes in bacterial and yeast cultures for making cheese, yogurt, pickles, kefir, and more.6
Manage your kefir grains properly. Once you buy kefir grains, you need to manage them well to keep them alive. The best way to do this is to keep them in a jar at room temperature, adding fresh milk to the jar each day. They can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.