A still image from Final Straw filming with head farmer Kristyn Leach of Namu Farm in San Francisco Bay Area

Interview – Namu Gaji, San Francisco’s Natural Farm Restaurant

San Francisco. This iconic city, set on a hilly peninsula on California’s central coast has been the epicenter of some major cultural revolutions, bringing new and often radical ideas in art, music, and lifestyle to the nation and world. Today, thanks in part to its large concentration of some of the world’s culinary delights, San Francisco is also becoming a leader in the local agriculture movement.

Chez Panisse, across the bay in Berkely was one of the forerunners in this area, with venerable chef and food activist Alice Waters pushing for appreciation of a local, seasonal menu. And when the ball starts rolling in San Francisco, it’s difficult to stop it from pickup up speed. You can thank those darned hills. So today, it’s common for restaurants in the city by the bay call on the numerous organic farms, growers, ranches, and wineries surrounding the Bay Area for their menus.

A few even have their own farms.

Namu Gagi, a small but powerful force in San Francisco’s Mission Dolores neighborhood, takes it even further. The restaurant has its own farm featuring a mix of American standards and Korean fare that you just can’t get anywhere else (besides Korea); and to top it off, it’s a Natural farm, inspired by a new generation of Korean and Japanese farmers who are concerned with creating a truly sustainable world.

The herb field at Namu Farm
The herb field at Namu Farm (photo: Patrick Lydon / Final Straw)

We spoke with Namu’s “Farmer in Residence,” Kristyn Leach during a short stop in California this past Fall, and got her thoughts on everything from the taste of Mexican Sour Gerkins to what happens when a young intern is a dropped at the intersection of science and metaphysical farming.

Besides an amazing array of foods we tasted directly from the stem at Namu Farm, we also caught up with the head chef of Namu Gaji, for his thoughts on the current state of the food system and environment, and to have a few bits of the restaurant’s Bibmbap (a Korean stone pot rice dish). The experience was delicious, both for our mouths and our minds, and we look forward to sharing it with you in the upcoming Final Straw film.

Chef Dennis Lee at Namu Gagi, San Francisco
Chef Dennis Lee at Namu Gagi, San Francisco (Photo: Patrick Lydon / Final Straw)

Namu is essentially helping to re-define what ‘good food’ means, and it’s also getting consistent praise, both locally, and in international press, with the San Francisco ChronicleGuardian, BBC, and New York Times all chiming in this year alone.

We think that Dennis and Kristyn have officially started a new ball rolling here in San Francisco, and we know what happens when a ball starts rolling in the hilly city by the bay…

An interview “short” featuring Kristyn will be coming out next month. Until then stay tuned, and make sure to sign up for our newsletter for updates, like interviews and our upcoming show and panel discussion in Edinburgh with several of Scotland’s leading environmental figures.


Namu Gaji
499 Dolores St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

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