The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that over 1/3 of food produced in the world goes to waste. Food waste produces methane gas, a more potent contributor to climate change than carbon. Get inspired and informed about the latest innovations happening in Tucson and Southern Arizona around food waste rescue and upcycling.
Dr. Ilse Rojas is a Fulbright Alumna with 12+ years of progressive experience conducting outreach and education programs; leading interdisciplinary research groups; and providing reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective engineered solutions to pressing water-food-energy challenges faced by local communities, especially among low-income and socially disadvantaged groups. She holds a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Chile and a Ph.D. degree in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from the University of Arizona. Over the past 5 years, Dr. Rojas has developed and managed numerous federal and state grant projects and delivered over $6 Million projects on behalf of local communities. Recently, Dr. Rojas joined the Office of Sustainability of the University of Arizona as Program Manager of Compost Cats. The University of Arizona’s student-operated Compost Cats program is the nation’s only university-based, municipal composting service, diverting organic waste away from local landfills. Through the composting process, Compost Cats avoids greenhouse gas emissions stemming from waste decomposition in landfills, while creating a valuable soil amendment that adds nutrients and improves the water-holding and carbon-sequestration capacities of local soils. Compost Cats focuses on food security, student workforce development, and environmental and social justice initiatives. Under this role, Dr. Rojas is working to make Compost Cats a more sustainable initiative where high-quality compost is engineered; while serving and benefiting both the university and communities throughout Arizona, becoming a reference for the Southwest region.