By Shana Singh
Boston University News Service
“Transforming people’s lives through the power of plants.” That’s the vision of TransPLANTed Boston, a roaming greenhouse that sells plants in a truck and donates all proceeds to charity.
Janice “Jan” Goodman founded TransPLANTed as a charitable offshoot of Cityscapes, her company that has created plantscapes and landscapes throughout Boston for the last 30 years.
Officially named “Sprout,” the plant truck sells its plants across the city. TransPLANTed partners with companies and lets them choose a local charity or organization to donate the truck’s profits.
“Everybody loves it,” said Goodman, about the truck’s popularity. “Oh my gosh, they love it.”
Goodman worked in a retail flower shop before founding Cityscapes 30 years ago. She had considered running a truck that sold fresh-cut flowers but decided on a plant truck instead.
Goodman and her oldest daughter Samantha started TransPLANTed in the summer of 2019. After getting the idea for a plant truck, the two wanted to raise money and spread awareness about charities in the area —including St. Jude, Jimmy Fund and NAACP.
“We [Jan and Sam] are always looking for ways to give back to the community,” said daughter Sam, who now works as director of communications at Breaktime. “We have done a ton of service work both in Boston and abroad. Giving back is very important to our family.”
Breaktime is a nonprofit that works to end young adult homelessness, according to its website.
Sam mentioned that many local charities doing “great work” can often get overlooked, and awareness alone can have an impact on the number of donations and volunteers they recieve.
“Our plants have a purpose,” Sam said. “We can make a really cool and meaningful impact in this new way that I don’t think Boston has ever seen before.“
TransPLANTed sells a variety of popular and rare plants, in addition to pots and accessories.
Valerie “Val” O’Reilly, director of TransPLANTed, said her goal is to make people feel more confident bringing plants into their home, even if they have been unsuccessful in the past.
“People come on the truck and say ‘I kill every plant I own.’ Well you know what, so do I,” O’Reilly said. “I’ve killed my fair share of plants too, but the good thing is no one is being charged with plant slaughter. That is part of the whole journey. We learn through our mistakes.”
O’Reilly described her job as rewarding and said bringing smiles to people is a great feeling.“Just to see people smile for a little bit,” O’Reilly said. ”Even if they don’t go on the truck, or don’t buy anything, or don’t even like plants. They appreciate what we’re doing.”
O’Reilly joined TransPLANTed in September 2021 and became director last December.
“We love being out in the community,” O’Reilly said. “I love talking to people about plants, and I can’t believe I get the opportunity to do that and get paid to do it.”
The plant truck usually holds one to two events a week at predetermined locations across Boston. Goodman said May, June, September and October are typically their busiest months.
Goodman said TransPLANTed acts as a “call to action” for corporate companies to give back.
“We want to be a good influence across the country,” said Goodman, reflecting on the plant truck and its impact on others. “We want to be a good influence everywhere.”
TransPLANTed has many pop-up events throughout the year that they share on instagram.