Walking through the City of Knowledge (CdS) feels like a walk in the neighborhood, even if you don’t live in the area. The campus, a former military base now converted into a model of sustainable development, is a powerful and lively example of what it means to do urban planning with people in mind. This feeling of a close-knit community is palpable at the Urban Market, one of the meeting spaces available on campus.  The monthly market connects the producer with the consumer, promoting local products and crafts, as well as conscious, chemical-free agriculture. The Urban Market has been a City of Knowledge activity for four years now, and today boasts an average of 40 artisans, artists and local producers and gathering up to 1,000 visitors per month. However, perhaps one of its most distinctive features is the community experience you get when you visit, as well as the possibility to buy directly from the producer, without an intermediary, and thus to get to know who grows or creates the product that you buy. “What makes the Urban Market so special for us is that we really feel part of a community. For me, it is much more than a place to buy agricultural products or crafts; we feel at home here; we can bring our pet, and everyone is very friendly, ” says Jesús Maradiaga, a frequent visitor. Although he moved a little over a year ago to a neighborhood close to the City of Knowledge, even before living in the area he came to the Market every month with his family. “At the Urban Market we can buy, at least a part of our groceries, directly from the producers. The nicest thing is that we establish contact with the people who provide these foods, ” Ana, another visitor, notes. “The producers who come here want us to try their products before buying, because they feel proud of their fresh produce and the fruits and vegetables they grew themselves,” she adds. In this article, we give you some tips to make the most of your next visit to the City of Knowledge Urban Market; it doesn’t matter if you are a regular visitor, if you’ve only visited it a few times or, if you yet to come for the first time. 1. Find your best time to go. Take into account that sometimes, fresh produce can sell fast. A producer may bring just a few basil seedlings or a few farm-fresh eggs for sale, so it may be a good idea to arrive early to ensure you get the best selection, especially for those high-demand fruits and vegetables. Try visiting the Market at different times and days, and then choose an hour that fits what you are looking for or it’s the most fun for you and your family or friends.

2.Bring your own bag or basket. Although producers and artisans will give you bags to carry what you buy, you can take this opportunity to bring your own bags and thus reduce waste, make your small contribution to be more planet-friendly. Plus, there is something exceptionally beautiful about taking home a basket full of bright green lettuce, red tomatoes from Chiriquí, mushrooms from La Chorrera along with other fruits and vegetables, knowing that, in addition, you are helping to reduce the use of plastic. Increase your awareness of the environment and share with your family how some actions, though small, can have a big impact. 3.Bring cash and small denomination bills. Although you can find ATMs nearby, bringing cash will give you more time to buy because your transactions will be faster. Whichever way you pay, we invite you to enjoy the experience of buying locally. Remember that coming here is also about the connections: to build, unite and support the community in general. 

4.Meet the producers and artisans. Take the time to talk to the people who bring their produce and products to the Urban Market. Do you know where the cilantro that you bring home comes from, or the cheese or honey? Have you thought about what inspires the artisan who shows you his/her art? Learn to trust the different producers and artisans and their specialties: who better than them to tell you how to choose a good vegetable or even how you can cook it? Ask them all you want: they can give you tips on how to use the item you are buying or how to keep ka vegetable fresh for a longer time at home. Trust us: you will not regret getting to know the story behind each producer or artisan.  The more you get to know the produce or materials sold at the Market, the people behind it and where they come from, the more you will appreciate the work involved in what they do. The Urban Market is also an excellent opportunity to socialize and meet other people who, just like you, enjoy connecting with the community and consuming local products. Many tell us that how happy they feel when they buy local products and others have told us that they also feel healthier. 5.Stay connected. Stay in touch with the Urban Market’s social media channels, where you can be up to date not only with upcoming Market editions, but also with activities, contests, new products and other news. Let the Urban Market surprise you each month!

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