In the USA, the alternative agriculture movement has arisen in response to perceived failures of industrial agriculture associated with intensification of human land-use (Foley et al., 2005). The alternative agriculture movement, which has been described as ‘new,’ ‘sustainable,’ ‘regenerative’ and ‘agroecological’ agriculture, seeks to develop production models and food systems which support local economies, reduce impacts on the environment, deliver high quality food directly to consumers and strengthen food sovereignty (Hamilton, 1996; Feenstra, 1997; Kloppenburg et al., 2000; Pearson, 2007; Gliessman, 2012; Holt-Giménez and Altieri, 2012). The complexity of goals associated with alternative agriculture was addressed by Kloppenburg et al. (2000) who worked with
a group of ‘competent, ordinary people’ to expand the definition of a sustainable food system, concluding, ‘[i]t is through honoring and understanding the multiple dimensions of motivation and intent that people bring to the transformation project [of food system sustainability] that it can actually be brought to fruition.’ The importance of sustainable production practices that increase productivity and maintain ecosystem services has also been recognized, including the potential contributions of plant-breeding programs (Tilman et al., 2002).