botany

Israel’s botanical gardens face funding crisis

Israel’s 11 botanical gardens are scrambling to cope with deep cuts in funding from the government’s agricultural ministry. Government spending on the gardens, which host research and education programs and are often associated with universities, is down by more than 50% this year. That’s a reprieve from a 98% cut that the ministry announced last year, but still a major blow for the gardens, which rely heavily on government funds to pay for basic operations.

“There were times this year when we couldn’t afford potting soil, or even printer paper,” says Tal Levanony, curator of Tel Aviv University’ in Israel’s botanical garden. “I’m not sure how the researchers will cope without support.” Read more in Science.

How Space Technology Will Produce the Best Weed Ever

Mike Dixon wants to send plants to Mars. Growing crops in space is the best way to provide proper nutrition to the crew on a long-duration mission, this University of Guelph researcher believes—but because there’s no manned mission to Mars scheduled at the moment, it’s hard to get funding for this type of research.

In the meantime, he and a growing number of other botanists are studying a plant where there’s plenty of funding right now, in Canada anyway: cannabis. Read more in Motherboard.