The corresponding "industrial literacy" element is the statistic that half of the nitrogen in human bodies in the world was fixed from the atmosphere through the Haber-Bosch process. That doesn't mean that we should assume that there's no other way to get nitrogen fixation, but I imagine it means we should realize that changing that in order to do without synthetic fertilizers, or even reduce the use of them dramatically, is a really, really big undertaking.
(I've been vegan or vegetarian for the past 80% of my life, but my carbon footprint is still way above the global average because of my heavy use of airplanes. Well, not this year, maybe. Anyway, one way I notice that I'm lacking in industrial literacy in the sense of this article: I honestly don't know whether my diet puts me above or below the world average in ratio of Haber-Bosch-fixed nitrogen in my body! I think noticing my uncertainty about that makes me more sympathetic to the idea of the original article, though.)
Some years ago, I read an American defence analyst claiming that USA is just 4 biggest fertilizer stockpiles away from starvation, if no imports are possible. And the globe as well is dangerously reliant on a dozen of so "megaplants."