No, for real. A chicken!
Before you laugh too hard, I will acknowledge that this gift is not for everyone. But I would like to posit that this gift can be for more people than you might imagine. More and more of my friends and colleagues in the world-changing field are getting a pair or trio of chickens for their backyard.
Getting a chicken or two is easier than you might think. Build/buy them a little space and pen (say, your old dog house) get some feed, and you will have healthy, FREE, eggs for the lifetime of the chicken. You can take your chicken to your local butcher if you choose to eat meat, and buy some replacement chicks (or have your hens’ eggs fertilized by your rooster or one loaned by a local farmer.) One of my friends recently told me that her local farmers market has a vendor selling a coop and a hen together, so you can just take it home and get farming!
Raising your own eggs is a great way to learn about, and likely find a new deep respect for, what goes into creating the food we eat. Such an education would also create healthy, well-rounded children who have an actual understanding of the food chain and can make their dietary choices accordingly.
The best part? You don’t need to have acres of land to have chickens! Many websites, most notably Back Yard Chickens, provide information for urban chicken raising!
The most important thing for this gift is communication and education. Be sure that your giftee is in a position to successfully undertake the project and eager to raise their own eggs. Go chat up the employees at your local farm supply store or call one near you for tips.
Raising chickens is the next step, and hottest trend, for the darkest green of us.