BLOOMINGTON, ILL. —Illinois-grown soybeans are the ingredient of choice for Bloomington, Ill.-based Phoenix Bean’s fresh tofu products.

Sourcing ingredients locally is a key factor for producing tofu products sustainably, according to the company.

“Buying soybeans locally reduces the carbon footprint of our products,” said Jenny Yang, owner of Phoenix Bean. “Another part of sustainability is how we use the soybeans throughout the food cycle. After we squeeze out all of the soy milk and protein to make tofu, we can use the solid fiber byproducts for human and animal consumption, so there’s no waste.”

Illinois soybean farmers also are taking steps to grow soybeans more sustainably. Over the past 30 years, farmers in the state have reduced land use per bushel, energy use per acre and soil erosion by 90%, according to the Illinois Soybean Association.