SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, toured a landmark San Francisco building renovated to showcase organic foods on Monday and followed the visit by telling California business leaders that urgent action is needed to address environmental challenges.
The tour of San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketplace by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall followed their visit earlier in the day to an elementary school in Berkeley, California, where they met with California cuisine legend Alice Waters and ate soup made from organic vegetables grown in the school's garden.
On Saturday they visited an organic farm north of San Francisco where they sampled freshly cut leafy greens.
Organic farming is a subject close to Charles' heart and he promoted it to a sympathetic audience of business leaders attending the U.S. West Coast launch of his "Business and the Environment Program".
Charles warned that while technology could help ease environmental problems it alone would not be enough to solve such issues.
"History suggests that attempting to re-engineer our planet is fraught with danger," Charles said, adding that "simple solutions" such as energy efficiency, organic farming and pollution prevention are usually the most sustainable.
Charles called for economic growth that is not achieved at the expense of "natural capital."
"This means accepting the concept of natural limits in a resource-constrained world," he said.
The prince called on the United States to use its power and influence to shape a global agenda of "environmental stewardship and a market economy reshaped to deliver it."
Charles and Camilla had entered the marketplace to applause from shoppers and tourists and briskly made their way through its boutiques.
They sampled foods at the boutiques and at one shop Charles mistook venture capitalist Alix Marduel for an organic farmer and merchant.
"He asked, 'Where is the farm?'" said Marduel, noting she was at a loss for words to answer.
On Sunday evening, Charles and Camilla were featured guests at a special performance of the long-running satirical review "Beach Blanket Babylon."
The San Francisco theatrical institution for 31 years pokes fun at pop culture celebrities under the guise of of telling a modern version of the Snow White fairy tale. Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, a San Francisco area resident, also played a surprise cameo role in the show.
On Monday evening, Charles attended a reception with Silicon Valley business leaders.
At a black tie dinner held at San Francisco's towering new $200 million copper-clad museum near the Golden Gate Bridge, Charles, in a toast given before 55 guests, praised business leaders for their entrepreneurial spirit and British operations of U.S. companies.
"The bonds of sympathy and understanding and warmth between the United States and the United Kingdom are strong and enduring," he said.
He concluded by proposing a toast to California.
In attendance were Silicon Valley notables including Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel Corp., the world's largest chipmaker; Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Computer Inc.; and Google Inc. co-founders Sergei Brin and Larry Page, as well as Jonathan Schwartz, chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems Inc.
(Additional reporting by Duncan Martell)
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