Based on the city’s street network, central location, close proximity to local farms, and industrial base, the city could be an ideal location to re-introduce a centralized food production and distribution network, creating a “Trenton food hub.” The success and expansion of food manufacturers like City Beef, Case Pork Roll, and Muirhead Foods, the commercial kitchen at Cherry Street Kitchen, and the Trenton Farmers Market located just outside the city limits in Lawrence Township, indicate that this is already happening informally. With support, food production industries could take advantage of the city’s relatively inexpensive utilities and water capacity (see Capitalize on Trenton's Relatively Inexpensive Energy Resources and Water Capacity)
, as well as the above-mentioned infrastructure and locational advantages. This could lead to a concentration of food production companies in Trenton which would reduce costs and improve efficiencies (also known as an agglomeration economy). Such efforts could be further exploited to produce spin-off industries, such as the production of energy from food waste or be used to support new farmers market and/or a new downtown fresh foods market.
A food hub would not only support economic development goals but would also help alleviate the barrier to fresh whole food and help advance a culture of health within Trenton. As a result, the food hub idea is mentioned in the Health and Food Systems Report.
Early steps in creating a food hub will require fostering relationships with key food production partners. Examples include partnerships with the Trenton Market Growers Co-op Association and food production businesses, as well as educators. The goal should be to streamline food distribution, concentrate food production, match businesses with development opportunities, employers with employees, and employees with training. These efforts will be supported by work on the Create Development Sites that Meet Modern Industrial Needs Initiative
and the Nurture a City-Based Industrial Workforce Initiative.