A chefs' cook-off and a band's CD release party are among the events for a weeklong celebration of local goods and services that begins Saturday.

The third annual Independents' Week runs Saturday through July 5. The events are organized by Local First, a nonprofit group that promotes local businesses. Other events include a workshop on the benefits of gardening and eating local produce.

Buying locally, as opposed to buying at chains and franchises, helps not just local businesses but the local economy, said Alison Einerson, Local First Utah's executive director.

"When you spend $100 at locally owned businesses, $68 stays in the local economy," she said. "When you spend $100 at a nonlocal business, only $43 stays in the local economy."

The difference has to do with everything from donations, wages and local taxes to supplies, she said.

While local items sometimes are more expensive, more Americans are opting to buy local to support friends and family in their communities, and to mitigate effects on the environment that come with long-distance transportation of goods.

"There's definitely a trend happening," Einerson said. "The bio-local movement is spreading pretty rapidly, and there are organizations like ours throughout the country. In our increasingly globalized world, people are looking for options. I think it's comforting in some ways."

The celebratory week's events begin Saturday with chefs from Tin Angel Cafe, One World Cafe, Fresco and Sage's Cafe competing at the Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park to create dishes with local ingredients. Mushman, composed of artists from Salt Lake City, will be performing at Slowtrain music store Saturday night during a block party.

If you go . . .

Local First Utah is celebrating Independents' Week with several events. They include:

• Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Chefs from Tin Angel Cafe, One World Cafe, Fresco and Sage's Cafe compete to create dishes with local ingredients, at the Downtown Farmers Market in Pioneer Park.

• Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.: CD-release and block party at Slowtrain Music, 221 E. 300 South.

• Tuesday, 7 p.m.: Workshop on how to start a community garden. Wasatch Community Gardens, 600 E. 800 South.

For a full list of events, visit www.localfirst.org

E-mail: [email protected]