Theodore A. Spitzer
Theodore Spitzer is a nationally recognized expert on food markets and alternative local food systems. His core competencies include feasibility analysis, market research, urban planning, and program evaluation.
For 25 years Ted has helped communities throughout the country to develop, revitalize, and improve their public markets and the neighborhoods around them. He led the team that assessed the feasibility of a new wholesale farmers’ market in New York City, work that included ground breaking research in demand for locally grown foods among buyers in New York City and potential supply from regional farmers. Mr. Spitzer has recently directed consulting efforts in Grand Rapids, Fort Wayne, Boise, Fort Collins, Louisville, Salt Lake City, Lynchburg, New Haven, Baltimore, Toledo, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee. He is currently helping to revitalize historic public markets in Rochester and St. Louis and exploring the feasibility of a “food hub” in Northern Michigan.
Most recently, Ted has led the planning and predevelopment efforts for the new Grand Rapids Downtown Market, including the initial feasibility study and concept plan. This mixed-use market facility includes an outdoor farmers’ market shed, a 21 vendor indoor market hall, two restaurants, 31,000 sf of commercial lease space, and a 5,100 sf shared commercial kitchen/ incubator. The project also includes rooftop greenhouses, a large demonstration kitchen and special event space, and the country’s first Kid’s Kitchen cooking lab with adjustable height cooking surfaces to accommodate six year-olds to adults. Ted has played a central role in fundraising for the $29.6 million project and is currently developing community partnerships to enhance the Market, focusing on the education and medical sectors. Construction began in January 2012 and the Downtown Market is on schedule to open in July 2013.
Mr. Spitzer’s experience extends to large-scale program evaluation. In partnership with New York University and Karp Resources, he led a team that evaluated the SchoolFood Plus Initiative, a broad-based effort to address obesity by improving meals served in the New York City public schools and purchasing foods from New York farms, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Mr. Spitzer was also the Lead Evaluator for the NYC Food & Fitness Partnership, a multi-sector intervention to improve access to healthy foods and active living in low income neighborhoods around New York.
As Project Director for the award-winning Portland Public Market in downtown Portland, Maine, Mr. Spitzer oversaw all aspects of the creation of a new, year-round indoor market with 25 fresh food businesses in the downtown core, including the project’s initial concept development and feasibility analysis. He then directed the Market’s operation from its opening in October 1998 through October 2001. Under his leadership the Portland Public Market received the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, the HUD/AIA Community Building by Design Award, and awards from the American Planning Association, International Downtown Association, and the American Institute of Architects.
Mr. Spitzer’s academic training includes urban and regional planning, local economic development, statistics and econometrics, and public affairs from Columbia and Princeton Universities.
With Hilary Baum, Ted Spitzer co-authored Public Markets and Community Revitalization (Urban Land Institute/Project for Public Spaces, 1995), which has been called the definitive guide to the field. The book provides an in-depth look at public markets throughout the United States, discusses their benefits and the challenges to developing markets, and presents a comprehensive approach to public market planning and development.
Mr. Spitzer is the founder and past president of Farm to Market, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that operated businesses within the Portland Public Market in order to ensure Maine farmers and food producers ongoing access to the Market’s customers. Experience gained in establishing and running Farm to Market, Inc. provides a further foundation of specialized knowledge to inform Market Ventures’ consulting practice. With his wife, Mr. Spitzer is the owner/operator of Maine’s Pantry, a successful store started within the Portland Public Market that features specialty foods produced in Maine.
In 1991, Mr. Spitzer was a founding principal of Public Market Partners, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that worked in partnership with communities to plan, develop, and manage public markets and related projects. He helped create new markets and provided planning assistance to existing markets throughout North America, including the Maxwell Street Market in Chicago, the Dallas Farmers’ Market, and the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Mr. Spitzer authored the initial redevelopment plan for the North Market in Columbus, which was successfully relocated and expanded. He helped develop and manage the Bronx Sunday Market and the East Harlem Community Market, seasonal, open-air markets located in low income communities in New York City.
Prior to co-founding Public Market Partners in 1991, Mr. Spitzer was Associate Director of the Public Market Collaborative, where he co-directed a $350,000 HUD-funded public market technical assistance program and provided assistance to seven cities. He led a consulting team in a major management and design study of the French Market in New Orleans and was the program director and organizer for the first International Public Market Conference. In 1989, he co-founded and chaired the New York Food and Agriculture Network, which lobbied city and state government on food and farming issues relevant to consumers in NYC.
In 1984, Ted Spitzer joined Project for Public Spaces, Inc., an organization dedicated to developing strategies for spurring downtown rebirth through the improvement of public spaces. In 1986-87, Mr. Spitzer conducted extensive research into comprehensive downtown management organizations, which was published by the American Planning Association. Amongst his consulting projects, he worked on projects in Opa Locka, Florida; Hoboken, New Jersey; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; and Brooklyn, New York.