Autophagy is a eukaryotic catabolic pathway essential for growth and development. In plants, it is activated in response to environmental cues or developmental stimuli. However, in contrast to other eukaryotic systems, we know relatively little regarding the molecular players involved in autophagy and the regulation of this complex pathway. In the framework of the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) action TRANSAUTOPHAGY (2016-2020), we decided to review our current knowledge of autophagy responses in higher plants, with emphasis on knowledge gaps. We also assess here the potential of translating the acquired knowledge to improve crop plant growth and development in a context of growing social and environmental challenges for agriculture in the near future.