Sometime blogger here on the CW Robert Thorn is a friend of mine who goes running for the hills every time he reads another book about industrial farming or goes to the movies to see things like "FOOD, INC.". He's a very healthy guy in phenomenal shape, but methinks he doth protest too much about the manner in which the planet is feeding its 6 billion residents.
Here's a great thread. First read this one--it is a blogpost by a farmer who takes issue with a foodie/elitist/RobertThorn wannabe on an airplane. Follow it with a read of Ronald Bailey's praise on the Reason blog. After than, take a look at the namby-pamby criticism of 1) the farmer who wrote the first blog post 2) Ronald Bailey 3) Reason Magazine and 4) conservatives. Finally, take a look at Bailey's response.
Taken as a whole, you get a much more balanced sense of what it takes to feed this world, and the difficulties involved in going back to some romantic, antiquated view of farming that is inappropriate to a growing world. Don't get me wrong--Michael Pollan's look into the world of stockyards, etc. wasn't a great read before dinner (it is actually a superb book, one that has had a n influence on the way I'm eating now--not from a sense of the morality of food (a big thing for Pollan), but simply because of how unhealthy a lot of processed food is). But BobbyThorn and the foodie elitist world don't have a better plan to feed this country, let alone the world.